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JUL 5 19T4 




Epilogue to Pestalozzi's 
How Gertrude Teaches Her Children: 




to f 


A Report to the Society of the Friends of Education, Burgdorf 





JT o n b o it 



















L STTER IX I . . 139 

3TTER X 144 









INDEX . 252 


Page 53, 









line 9, for " elements " read " principles." 
30, for " perfecting " read " cultivating." 

" 3 f' }f or " intellect " read " understanding." 

8, for "typical form of human" read "first form of 

human mental." 

lines 16, 18, 24, 26, for " elements " read " elementary points." 
line 11 ; page 139, lines 9 and 12 ; page 140, line 32 ; page 144, 
line 22 ; page 147, line 22 ; page 148, line 6, for 
" elements " reetd " elementary means." 
17, for " sense impression " read " form." 
6 ; page 121, line 30 ; page 144, lines 20 and 25 ; page 
148, lines 3 and 10; page 149, line 23, for " observa 
tion " read " Anschauung." 
14, omit " natural." 
12,/or " origin" read " basis." 
17, /or "by "read "in." 
22, for " according to " read " in " or " within," and for 

" education " read " instruction." 
32, for " elements " read " elementary divisions." 
17' \f or "element" read "primary means." 

^ add after " nature," [" in respect to this subject "]. 





150, 24, 

150, 25, 

150, 26, 

17(5, 22,/or 

199, last line, for " at end " read pp. 207, 208. 

was," "to the race.' 
" making " " many fold." 
" clear," u by the power of sound." 
skill " read " abilities." 


THE METHOD in time and thought precedes How Ger 
trude Teaches. It may be read after Letter I., for in 
this letter Pestalozzi gives the history and circum 
stances which led him to those principles he first 
definitely stated in The Method. The First Letter from 
Stanz also belongs to this period. It will be found in 
De Guimps' Life and in Quick's Essays on Educational 
Reformers. These works form a complete group, and 
are his most important educational works. They are 
undoubtedly his own ; of later works this cannot be 
said until we come to the Swan's Song and My Ex 

The portions of How Gertrude Teaches in Biber's 
Life of Pestalozzi are all that have been translated. Its 
peculiar terms, such as " Anschauung," may partly 
account for this neglect. These terms are difficult, for 
apparently we do not grasp Pestalozzi's thought. We 
neither read nor follow him. If we walk in his ways, 
we may see what he saw ; if we repeat his experi 
ments, we may in some measure share his thought. 
, Doing leads to knowing. He has been blamed for not 
defining his terms. He gives instead the history of 
Ihis conception, the circumstances which led to it, its 
[development, and his schemes founded on it. " There 

viii Editor's Preface. 

are two ways of instructing," he said ; " either we go 
from words to things, or from things to words. Mine 
is the second method." His meaning may become 
clearer if the reader will substitute " Anschauung " for 
" sense impression " and for all other equivalents 
throughout the work. It has, and can have, no equi 
valent in English. We may partly learn its meaning, 
as we have learned that of some other words, from its 
use. If definitions are desired, the most helpful will 
be found at the beginning of Kant's Critique of Pure 
Reason. Kant's method is to begin with definitions. 

"We have tried to translate this work literally, with 
out paraphrase and without omissions : no difficult 
passage has been left out. Much might be improved. 
The more we learn from him the more evident this is. 
Any help which will make his thought still clearer 
will be gladly and thankfully received. 

For my part, I heartily wish it had been in abler 
hands, but the work seems to me as much needed here 
and now as ever. This is in part my apology for rush 
ing in where more competent beings have feared to 
tread. It has not been done without much help, and in 
recording my obligations for this other circumstances 
will intrude. 

To one, first and foremost, my gratitude is due. Of 
him I have known nothing for more than forty years. 
Between 1845-1850 the transition from the old school 
of our forefathers very similar to that of Samuel 
Dysli, of Burgdorf to the new school of trained 
teachers took place in our retired parish. The old 
dame and the severe schoolmaster passed away, and 
among the new teachers came one from Bristol Mr. 

Editors Preface. ix 

Wm. B. Morgan with a new method Pestalozzi's. 
He stayed only one year, and returned. We heard of 
him no more. In a small way we had our Stanz. The 
school was transformed, its tediousness vanished, and 
unknown powers awoke. He joined us at play, and so 
extended his master's principles naturally, at a time 
when Froebel was doing the same. The first kinder 
garten had been established but seven or eight years, 
and this was six or seven years before it was introduced 
into England. He gave too a memorable lecture on 
the new method, illustrated by a grammar and a 
"moral" lesson. By " Socratising " he obtained the 
material from us. and taught us to think and to learn 
from our own thought. It was a revelation, and the 
impression of it lives still an example of what a teacher 
may do who enters into the thought of the child, and 
sets what Buss calls the " fly-wheel in motion, that 
needs only to be set going to go on by itself." Many 
years later I was driven back on this teaching, needed 
help, but found none ; hence this attempt. 

Pestalozzi foresaw, on its first morning, when he 
began How Gertrude Teaches, the nature of the coming 
century : u The whole earth the beauty wore of pro 
mise." We have entered into it. From Wordsworth's 
Prelude, " dedicate to Nature's self and things that 
teach as Nature teaches," written at exactly the same 
time, and in the same spirit, as How Gertrude Teaches, 
to our latest schemes of technical education, we have 
been thinking and working in the same ways, with 
but little of his direct influence. Education gene 
rally ; the doctrine of development ; the culture and 
knowledge of the body, practically by exercise, theo- 

x Editors Preface. 

retically by physiology ; science and art, both, included 
in his elementary means form, both founded on 
Anschauung; the training of teachers, based on psy 
chology ; our social schemes for the welfare of the 
people are all and more to be found in this work. 

In other minds similar ideas germinated indepen 
dently. Portions of the truth Pestalozzi perceived 
were seen by many. Soon after the middle of the 
century much of it was re-embodied by the Rev. F. D. 
Maurice in the Working Men's College. His faith in 
both " learning and working " are in the name. In 
his deep religious feeling and human sympathy, his per 
ception of principles in the common facts of every-day 
life, the unity of all studies, their relation to work, in 
his desire to educate, exercise, and develop the whole 
being, and in many other ways he resembled Pestalozzi. 
At a time when the "mutual instruction" of Stanz 
had been twisted here to support the monitorial sys 
tem, the reality itself reappeared in the conversational 
teaching allied to socratising which was generally 
adopted at the College. Men taught men in a non- 
professional way, for the social and human elements 
were considered as important as learning. In this 
direct action of mind on mind was to be found some 
thing of the " mutual self-vification " of Stanz. The 
unselfish devotion of Mr. Maurice's fellow- workers to a 
common purpose is a significant contrast to the divisions 
at Yverdun. 

Among his associates, Mr. Ruskin, who may have 
been influenced by Rousseau, maintained the supre 
macy of Nature, and insisted as strongly as Pestalozzi 
himself on learning to " see " and on " seeing " as the 

Editor's Preface. xi 

beginning of art and thought. He claimed for form 
sense-impression and doing, a place in education. 
"Every youth should learn to do something thoroughly 
with his hands to know what touch means," he said. 
In many other ways he continued Pestalozzi's thought. 
Another associate, Rossetti, restored to form its old 
power of expressing thought, and unconsciously illus 
trated as did all the Pre-Raphaelities the Pesta- 
lozzian principle ; the development of the individual 
follows that of the race. The College was perhaps at 
its best nearly twenty years before Payne's lecture on 

The privilege and duty of continuing Mr. E/uskin's 
teaching in one class fell to me, and after several years 
this attempt to teach from nature naturally led me to 
Mr. C. H. Lake. He watched with much sympathy 
my attempts to teach drawing and natural science. Of 
these things he professed to know nothing, but his 
profound knowledge of psychology, educational prin 
ciples, and of Pestalozzi's spirit he had been friend and 
fellow-worker with Payne for many years made him 
the best guide and critic possible, perhaps the only one. 
He entered into the work with great interest, for he de 
lighted in experiments, and to bring actual school work 
to the test of principles. He was a master of socratis- 
ing, believed in inductive teaching, and, with Pestalozzi 
and Maurice, in that " mutual instruction " which 
brings minds into direct contact by conversation. To 
him I am much indebted. I was compelled to fall 
back on the unforgotten lessons of my boyhood, and 
I expected to find the methods and principles of 
Pestalozzi established, well known, even extended, 

xii Editor's Preface. 

and his own work easily accessible ; but only Biber's 
fragments were available. Blind to its difficulties, I 
long failed to induce friends to translate How Gertrude 
Teaches, until, trying for myself, help was for the first 
time offered ; Miss L. E. Holland not only translated 
this work, but several others which threw light on it. 
There were difficulties, and the late F. C. Turner 
revised the whole work, and reduced the number. 
He sought in both French and German literature to 
verify passages and for help generally, even during 
his long and painful illness. The amount and kind of 
help of these friends could only have been given by 
those who fully sympathised in the work. 

Some doubtful passages remained ; for these several 
friends were consulted, and the various readings com 
pared. In this way we had help from Mme. Michaelis, 
Miss F. Franks, Fraulein H. Seidel, Mr. A. Sonnen- 
schein, and others. "We have added the index. 

April, 1894. 


JOHANN HEINRICH PESTALOZZI was born January 12th, 
1746. He gives in this book some account of his life 
in relation to his work ; a few other facts of a similar 
nature may be useful. " In the years of my childhood," 
he says, "I lived out of touch with the world, at least, 
so far as this gives one power, skilfulness, and a good 
bearing in the intercourse and business of life. I lost 
my father early ; this caused defects in my education 
which have been a disadvantage to me throughout my 
life; but it was mixed with good. I cannot say, I would 
it had been otherwise. My father, on his death-bed, 
said to a poor maidservant who had been hardly six 
months with us, ' Do not forsake my wife if I die, or 
my poor children will be lost.' She gave him her hand 
and her word, and remained more than thirty years in 
my mother's _ service, and did not forsake her till she 
herself quitted this earth. If she had not stayed, we 
should have lost both mother and home. My mother 
instilled into us respect and gratitude to her which 
will never be extinguished. She sacrificed herself for 
us completely. From the roughest work of the 
meanest servant to the highest, she did everything the 
whole time of her service. While economising every 

xiv Introduction. 

penny, she watched over our honour with incredible 
tenderness ; nothing escaped her. But she put no 
value on this. If any one said, ' You do a great deal 
for the household,' her answer was, 'I promised it, 
and I must keep my promise.' She rejected any 
offer of a better place with these words, ' What do you 
think of me ? ' every offer of marriage with ' I must 
not.' Gressner, such fidelity is rare in this world ; for 
anything like it you must go back to the noblest days 
of our country, to the noble deeds of our forefathers. 
The spirit of their high power of sacrificing self for 
Fatherland, religion, freedom, truth, and right, with 
which they saved their country, was in no wise 
different from the power of self-sacrifice of our maid 
servant, by which she saved and raised our household. 
Just as I was sensible of this fidelity throughout my 
life, just as it influenced me with a real life-giving 
satisfaction from early morn to latest eve, just as I felt 
cared for by her every hour while I was growing, so 
the people in the good old days were ever sensible 
of the fidelity of their noble forefathers, during the 
whole of their lives it influenced them with a life- 
giving satisfaction, and they felt they were cared for. 
This sacred fidelity exercised its influence especially 
on widows and orphans and on the poor and lowly^ in 
the land. Sacrifices for fidelity and faith, paternal 
feeling and love for the people, heartfelt pity for the 
wants of the oppressed and courageous deeds to protect 
them against injustice, came naturally to our ancestors, 
and was part of the morality of their time." 1 This 

1 Pestalozzi-Blatter, Dec., 1889, Zurich. For another account 
of her in a letter to Prof. Ith, 1802, see De Guimps, pp. 3, 4. 

Introduction. xv 

abbreviated extract from what he intended for a new 
version of How Gertrude Teaches will help to answer 
a question often asked, What has the book to do with 
Gertrude ? as well as give some idea of one of the 
deepest influences of his childhood. The title does not 
perhaps clearly express the contents. Some critics 
say that the contradiction in the title-page is charac 
teristic of the book. 

In 1760 Pestalozzi became a student at the Univer 
sity of Zurich. He entered fully into the movements 
and thoughts of his time. " Living in a time and coun 
try in which well educated young men eagerly enquired 
into the causes of the evils in the land, and were 
zealous to oppose them, wherever they were, I too, like 
all the students of Bodmer and Breitinger, sought the 
sources of those evils which crushed the people of our 
Fatherland " (Ein Blick, etc.). 

In 1762, when he had been at Zurich two years, he 
was very deeply impressed by one of the most powerful 
influences of the pre-revolutionary period Rousseau. 
The Government of Geneva condemned Rousseau. The 
people supported him, and asked that the decree might 
be repealed, as unjust and ill-advised. These doings 
caused a great stir in Zurich. (See De Guimps, page 

The Revolution began a new epoch, and with it 
a new education. The Renascence revived ancient 
literature, and set up the book as the regenerator of the 
world, and exalted book-learning. Instruction meant 
the study of Latin and Greek, words and dead lan 
guages. The Revolution in many ways opposed this, 
and the conditions and institutions that had been 

xvi Introduction. 

brought about by it, in conjunction with the mediaeval 
religious system. " Do the opposite of what is usually 
done, and you will be right," is Rousseau's maxim in 
education. " All is artificial ; we must return to 
nature. Man is bad by institutions, not by nature." 
The old religious system had insisted on blind faith, 
on authority, and tradition. The Revolution demanded 
free investigation of facts, free thought, and free 
speech, culture of reason and intelligence, and the 
natural claims of all to justice and education. The 
mediseval religious system had taught that the 
natural instincts of the body were to be suppressed, 
that human nature was utterly depraved, and all 
nature was gross and impure. The Revolution again 
set the little child in the midst, a study for mankind, 
and pronounced nature itself very good. 

" Directly Rousseau's Emile appeared," Pestalozzi 
says, " my visionary and highly speculative mind was 
enthusiastically seized by this visionary and highly 
speculative book." Rousseau's influence also increased 
in him the desire for a more extended sphere of activity 
for the happiness of the people, and induced him to 
give up the idea of the clerical profession for that of 
law. In 1762, when the Government of Geneva, follow 
ing the example of the Paris Parliament, condemned 
the author of Emile and The Social Contract, 1 the people 
of Geneva warmly remonstrated. The patriotic stu 
dents at Zurich sympathised with Rousseau and also 
protested against the action of the government of 
Geneva. Pestalczzi was one of the most enthusiastic. 

1 See Rousseau. Note 1, Letter IV. 

Introduction. xvii 

His sympathies brought him into conflict with the 
authorities and injured his prospects for life. He too 
was condemned, fined, and confined several times ; he 
was considered a dangerous revolutionist. The people 
he earnestly wished to serve misunderstood him. They 
even threatened him with death more than once. The 
effect of this was deeply wrought into his life. 

Of his powers at this time he says : "I was far 
behind my fellow-students in some things, in others I 
often surpassed them in an unusual degree. This is 
so true that once when my professor, who had a good 
knowledge of Greek but not the least eloquence of 
style, translated and published some of the orations of 
Demosthenes, I had the boldness to translate one my 
self and give it at the examination." This was pub 
lished, and excited universal admiration. 

His first serious experiment in life was an attempt 
to work out his naturalistic principles. He abandoned 
first the Church and then Law, for which he had 
studied, and became a farmer (1768) of uncultivated 
land, barren, chalky heath, and sheep walk ; which 
was to him unprofitable, although in 1869 the very 
same land was rich and produced several crops in the 

The next year, 1769, he married, and in 1771 settled 
at Neuhof, in Letten, near Birr, in Argau. Farming 
failed, and for some time before the actual crisis Neuhof 
became a home for neglected children, orphans and 
beggars, who were taught to work and learn at the same 
time. The following memorable passage referring to 
this period is left out of the second edition of How 
Gertrude Teaches : u Long years I lived surrounded by 

xviii Introduction. 

more than fifty beggar children. In poverty I shared 
my bread with them, I lived like a beggar in order to 
learn how to make beggars live like men. My ideal 
training included work on the farm, in the factory, and 
the workshop," and he never abandoned this ideal. 
At last when all was spent, both strength and fortune, 
the farm was closed (1780), leaving him " more than 
ever convinced of the reality and truth of his principles 
at the very moment of their apparently entire de 

. In 1781 he wrote Leonard and Gertrude, his greatest 
success. It was a novel intended to show that the 
world might be regenerated through education, the 
mother, Gertrude, 1 being the chief teacher. This 
work brought him many friends of every class, among 
them Fichte, who apparently influenced him much. 

Fichte lived two years at Zurich, 1788 to 1790, and 
was intimate with Pestalozzi's circle of friends. He 
married a niece of Lavater's there, 1793, and stayed 
some months afterwards. Pestalozzi's psychology and 
philosophy after this time slowly develop ; but in 
^Leonard and Gertrude published the same year as 
Kant's Critique of Pure Reason Fichte found that 
already " experience had led him to many of the same 
results as Kant." Fichte's friendship strengthened this 
tendency, and from it originated his later thought and 
principles. These remained in a germ-like state in his 
mind until his experience at Stanz developed them and 
made them real and living. But if Fichte was able 
to influence his psychology and philosophy, he was 

1 A character probably inspired by his recollections of the 
devoted maidservant mentioned above. See note 8, p. 214. 

Introduction. xix 

probably less familiar with the subject of development. 
The union of these is one of Pestalozzi's special cha 
racteristics. Evidently Fichte saw the importance 
of his doctrines, for it was by his advice that he wrote 
a philosophical treatise, Inquiries into the Course of 
Nature in the Development of the Human Race, which 
was produced in 1797. His educational works brought 
him friends in the Swiss Government, and he was 
working out an. official scheme of education when 
Stanz was burnt down. 

The new French Republic wished to improve its 
neighbour the old Swiss Republic by centralization. 
Unterwalden, one of the three cantons which founded 
the Republic, proud of its own self-government, 
objected, and refused to take the oath of allegiance 
to the new Unitary Constitution imposed by France. 
The French army marched on Stanz, its chief town. 
It was resisted and repelled, but eventually it reached 
Stanz, and, exasperated by the vigorous and unex 
pected resistance, massacred the inhabitants and burnt 
the town, September 9th, 1798. There were 169 
orphans, excluding 77 provided for by private charity 
and 237 other children practically homeless. The cen 
tral Swiss Government, November 18th, determined to 
found an Orphans' Home at Stanz, and Pestalozzi was 
appointed manager, December 5th. He arrived two 
days later and opened the orphanage January 14th, 
1799. u It is a great trouble to all of us," wrote Mrs. 
Pestalozzi. " If I am worth what I think I am," replied 
Pestalozzi, " you will soon find me a comfort and sup 
port. You have waited thirty years ; will you not wait 
another three months ? " He alone can tell the story of 

xx Introduction. 

Stanz, and he has told it twice, first in a letter to 
Gressner directly after he left, and again here. 1 In five 
months there was war again. The convent was wanted 
for a military hospital, and on June 8th, 1799, sixty 
children were sent away, and Pestalozzi, almost dead, 
went to Gurnigel for a little rest. 

The Government, influenced possibly by an unfavour 
able report from Zschokke, one of the secretaries of the 
Minister of Education, and Businger, priest at Stanz, 
did not wish Pestalozzi to return. Stapfer, the minister, 
alone supported him, and tried to find another field for 
his experiments. Ever since he had been a minister 
Stapfer had made attempts to establish a Teachers' 
Institute. His secretary, Fischer, had submitted plans 
for such an institute, which he approved. Burgdorf 
was considered a suitable place for their trial, and in 
July, 1799, Fischer went there, was lodged in the 
castle, and superintended the schools which he had 
organized, but the Normal School was not opened. 

To Burgdorf, then, Stapfer directed Pestalozzi, and 
on July 23rd, 1799, a dwelling in the castle was ap 
pointed him near Fischer, and he was sent to the 
house of Samuel Dysli, shoemaker and schoolmaster, 
who worked at his trade even during school-time. But 
Pestalozzi would not object to this. He approved of 
working and learning together. It was one of -his first 
and last wishes to unite them ; but these two men soon 
found that they could not exist together. His im 
provements had already transformed the school, and 
here old and new came into strong contrast and con- 

1 The First Letter from Stanz is given entire in De Guimps' 
Life, pp. 147-171. 

Introduction. xxi 

flict. The practice of the old schoolmaster had come 
down from the middle ages, and here was the reforming 
spirit of the new education overturning all. There 
were no books, no copying, no learning by rote, no 
hearing of lessons, no tasks, worst of all, no catechism 
and no psalter. He spoke aloud, the children repeated, 
and at the same time drew figures on their slates, just 
as at Sfcanz. But not even there, where he was con 
sidered a heretic-enemy incapable of teaching, was 
prejudice stronger than here. The acknowledged fact 
that he was making experiments showed plainly that 
he did not know what he was doing, and therefore was 
not to be trusted. The shocking neglect of catechism 
and psalter proved that he was quite unfit to teach or 
to have charge of the young. This first hand-to-hand 
fight between old and new is a type of many a later 
struggle. Honest prejudice, with its second-hand and 
worn-out systems, still opposes the new revelation and 
drives it from the door. Pestalozzi was soon removed 
to Miss Stahli's l school. 

He had gone to Burgdorf at the end of July, 1799, 
and on March 31st, 1800, a report of the examination 
of his pupils at Miss Stahli's begins by stating that he 
had been "teaching the children there for the past 
eight months," therefore he could not have been many 
days with Dysli, the shoemaker. 

Meanwhile another school arose in Burgdorf. At the 
end of 1799, war in Eastern Switzerland caused distress 
in the cantons of Sentis and Linth. Fischer at Burg 
dorf sent for thirty children, and nearly that number 

1 For condition of old schools see Note 20, Letter I., p. 219; and 
Diesterweg, Old Schools ; H. Barnard's Pestalozzi, p. 18. 


xxii Introduction. 

arrived on the 27th July, 1800, and with them their 
teacher, Hermann Kriisi. At the beginning of February 
forty-four more came from Appenzel. Kriisi lived with 
Fischer and Pestalozzi in the castle. The children 
were placed in different families, but went to the castle 
to school. 

Three days after the favourable report of Pestalozzi 's 
teaching was presented, Fischer left Burgdorf (April 
3rd, 1800), and soon after died. "With his death begins 
for me a new epoch." says Pestalozzi. The teachers' 
Institute became his charge. In May, 1800, he was 
appointed to a higher class, but was not so successful. 
" These young people thought themselves already 
tolerably well educated, and such simple childish exer 
cises, far from interesting them, only served to wound 
their vanity. The same thing happened again after 
wards," and continues to happen even now if his 
methods are used. The teacher should use observation 
while it is still natural to the child that it may never 
be dropped, but be strengthened and made permanent. 

Stapfer had founded the Society of the Friends of 
Education, and Pestalozzi wrote for it a Report of the 
Method, a work of such importance we have translated 
and added it here ; it is the foundation of his teaching, 
and quite distinct from flow Gertrude Teaches. It is 
dated June 27th, 1800. 

To unite the children under Kriisi with his own 
scholars more room was wanted, and on July 23rd, 1800, 
the Council, through Stapfer, granted the necessary 
room. The commissioners reported, 1 October 1, and 

1 For Eeport, De Guimps, pp. 204-6. 

Introduction. xxiii 

on October 25th Pestalozzi announced the opening of 
his Institute for Training Teachers. The Society seeing 
that State help was insufficient, appealed for subscrip 
tions. The newspapers still considered Pestalozzi more 
revolutionist than educationalist. The Institute was 
opened January, 1801, and is the best embodiment in 
this direction of his idea. He was really the head, and 
his newly-discovered principles were dominant ; it only 
lasted three and a half years, but it carried his fame far 
and wide. 

In October, 1801, How Gertrude Teaches her Cnildren 
was published. 

Federalism was re-established in Switzerland February 
19th, 1803. The restored government of Canton Bern 
again took possession of the castle. Although Pesta 
lozzi had favoured the unitary government and was 
considered revolutionary, he could not now be neglected, 
and another residence was provided, an old convent at 
Miiochen-Buchsee, near to Fellen burg's agricultural 
establishment. He went there on June, 1804, but left 
October 18th for Yverdun. 

For twenty years he carried on the Institute at 
Yverdun under varying fortunes; troubles arose chiefly 
from differences among his fellow- workers, especially 
Niederer and Schmidt. Niederer was a Doctor of 
Philosophy and minister who joined Pestalozzi here, 
and regarded himself as the philosophical interpreter 
of PestaLozzi's ideas. Schmidt gained great reputation 
by his mathematical teaching and business capacity. 
Here " each disciple interpreted the master's doctrine 
in his own way," and later each, u after claiming to 
be the only one who had understood Pestalozzi, ended 

xxiv Introduction. 

by declaring that Pestalozzi had not understood him 
self " (Prof. Vulliemin, De G., p. 256). These disciples 
had never been at Stanz. While the Institute was 
in distracted disorder consider Pestalozzi. It had never 
satisfied him. It was never what he wanted. At 
Burgdorf as early as 1803 he longed to leave it and 
follow his own way. He wanted to found another 
school for poor children, where they might work as 
well as learn. Again and again he repeated this wish, 
and made attempts to realize it. At the end of his life 
he declared that in founding the Burgdorf Institute he 
had made a mistake. " I was already lost at Burgdorf 
through my attempts to do what was utterly foolish 
and absurd " (My Experiences}. 

When the Institute at Yverdun was at its worst, he 
returned to his favourite scheme, just as he had done 
when Neuhof was in the same condition. He founded 
at Clendy in 1818 a school for poor children, and at 
seventy-two worked with the same energy, love, and 
complete success as at Neuhof, Stanz, and Burgdorf. 
Why was he always successful with these schools ? 
With the idea of founding similar schools in which 
handicraft might be taught, he caused Ramsauer to 
learn several handicrafts (1807-1816). Does he fail 
and succeed at the same time ? Of his failures much 
has been said. What of his successes ? 

The Institute was closed, and he left Yverdun, March, 
1825. He went home to his grandson at Neuhof, and 
on the same spot where his farming had failed fifty 
years before he again ordered buildings for an in 
dustrial school. Here he wrote his last works, the 
Swan's Song, and My Experiences. In the latter book 

Introduction. xxv 

he spoke strongly, perhaps with exaggeration, of his 
old friends who had forsaken him. Niederer was 
hurt. " His grievances were eagerly taken up by a 
man named Edward Biber. This man had arrived at 
Yverdun after Pestalozzi's departure, and stayed but 
one year there." He then left .and wrote a pamphlet 
in Niederer 's justification, which was " little more than 
a long insult to the venerable philanthropist ending 
his days in misfortune. ... No one was more genu 
inely indignant with this infamous production " than 
Niederer 1 himself. To Pestalozzi it was a death 
blow. He died February 17th, 1827. 


Pestalozzi's work generally is unknown in this 
country. At times, efforts and enquiry have been 
made, but he has never been understood or natural 
ized. He is the follower of Bacon and of Locke ; 
he embodies their principles ; and yet their country 
men neither understand nor receive him. At the be 
ginning of the century. Englishmen seem to have 
believed Bell. " My system includes all this," he said 
at Yverdun. The common opinion about Pestalozzi 
now was expressed by the late Mr. E. Coghlan, when 
he lectured on him at the Education Society in 1880. 
u We have learned what he had to teach, and we are 
far beyond him." Erroneous, even false statements 

1 So says De Guimps ; but Morf quotes letters from Niederer 
identifying himself with Biber, and speaking of his pamphlet as 
" Our Defence." 

x x vi Introduction. 

of his principles and methods are frequently found 
where we might expect accuracy, and there is no work 
of his to witness against them. To know what he 
thought, and how he worked, we must go to the 
originals, and the foreign biographies, for there is no 
thing satisfactory in English. Quite recently Roger de 
Guimps' Life has been translated. We have no trans 
lation of such works as those of Morf and Gruillaume, and 
we have but little literature of value on the subject. 1 
If the new movement in education which has had 
world- wide influence, and which he practically began, 
is the most important of modern times, if it is still 
growing and developing, this book, the greatest of his 
educational works, should certainly be known; the 
selected passages and paraphrased fragments, we have 
may give a little help, but they are inadequate ; they 
never give his whole thought, but often obscure and 
misrepresent it. He wants to show how the germ of 
the idea of popular education was developed in him. 
To throw light on that is the purpose of this book ; 
not merely to state theories and give details of his 
teaching. He wants to show how the principle grew 
in him, how we can follow him in spirit. It is the 
history of the growth of an Educator's mind, of the 
conditions under which he worked, the experiments he 
made, their failure or success, and the method he 
learned through direct study of nature. He does not 
he cannot separate the events of his life from his 

1 Barnard's volume on Pestalozzi contains part of Raumer's 
life, and nearly all that has been translated of his works; 'but 
the account given in it of Wie Gertrud is very defective, almost 
useless ; the principles on which the system is founded are not 

Introduction. xxvii 

experiments and theories. He has no life, no thought, 
apart from his one aim. He thinks of nothing else, 
works for nothing else. From out of his work comes 
his methods, his theories, and his sympathy. He is re 
presented to us as the most visionary and impractical of 
men : in some ways he might be, but he is essentially 
the man of observation and experiment, his knowledge 
comes from his seeing and doing. He made a founda 
tion for a science of education. 

At the beginning of this century, when central 
Europe was attending to his teaching, and influenced 
by it, we in England were entirely pre-occupied with 
Bell and his Madras system. This has kept us back more 
than half a century. In 1815, or more probably 1816, 
Bell visited Festal ozzi, but saw nothing in him or his 
method. 1 Parting from Ackermann, who had acted as 
his interpreter, he said, "Now I understand the method 
of your Pestalozzi. Believe me, sir, in twelve years 
it will not be mentioned, while mine will be spread 
over the whole world " (Pest.-Blatt., 1886, p. 55). In 
1818, when Pestalozzi, returning to his own idea, 
opened the school at Clendy, several Englishmen were 
attracted to him, and were very enthusiastic. This gave 
him great hopes of help from this country, and an 

1 This visit was possibly occasioned by the account of an Irish 
gentleman, Mr. Mills, who visited Yverdun for two hours, and 
stayed three months in 1815. He wrote A Biographical Sketch 
of the struggles of Pestalozzi to establish his System, by an Irish 
traveller, Dublin, 1815 ; and A Sketch of Pestalozzi's Intuitive 
System of Calculation, Dublin, 1815. He introduced the " Tables 
of the Relations of Numbers" into Model Schools, Dublin, and so 
influenced the teaching in Irish schools. The same tables were 
introduced into this country by Sir J. K. Shuttleworth, under 
the Council of Education later. 

x x vi i i In troduction. 

appeal was made by him in English. 1 His influence 
on England is said to have led to the establishment 
of infant schools everywhere. Prof. Vulliemin says in 
his Reminiscences : " As for infant schools, which now 
exist everywhere, it was he who originated them, in a 
manner I myself saw, and will now describe . . . 
Clendy fell, but there was a man there who had taken 
part in the short-lived enterprize, a man of Christian 
spirit and enlightened understanding. This man, who 
was an Englishman, by name Greaves, carried the 
ideas he had gathered at Clendy back to England, 
where they took root, and became the origin of infant 
schools. From England these schools returned to us, 
first to Geneva, then to Nyon, then everywhere. We 
had not understood Pestalozzi, but when his methods 
came back from England, though they had lost some 
thing of their original spirit, their meaning and appli 
cation were clear." 

Mr. J. S. Reynolds and Dr. Mayo were also chief 
movers here. " Some of his fondest expectations are 
kindled by our infant schools," says Dr. Mayo. 
" Pestalozzi was peculiarly solicitous that the idea of 
his method of education should not be confounded with 
the form it might assume. He felt strongly the value 
of the idea, and highly disposed as he was to appreciate 
the application of it by his disciples, he saw they were 
at best imperfect, incomplete embodiments of his pro 
found conception " (Dr. Mayo, Introduction to "Lessons 
on Objects"). 

In 1831 came the first original and important work, 

1 A copy of this Appeal is in the library of the Froebel 
Society, London. 

Introduction. xxix 

An Account of PestalozzVs Life and Writings, by 
Edward Biber, whose intemperate and abusive pamph 
let against Pestalozzi, on behalf of and supported by 
Niederer, 1 satisfied none. Soon after its publication 
Biber disappeared from Switzerland and came to this 
country, first as a schoolmaster, then Vicar of Roe- 
hampton till 1872. He was editor of John Bull from 
1848 to 1856, but we hear no more of Pestalozzi from 
him. He says, " It would be an endless task to recount, 
and a hopeless one to refute, all the erroneous and 
absurd notions which are afloat on the subject " (i.e. 
Pestalozzi's principles and method). Some to gain 
attention had modified the ideas they had to set 
forth, so as to render them palatable to intended 
readers ; and had so distorted the original. The regret 
with which he had for several years past (he was at 
Yverdun in 1826) witnessed these mistakes induced 
him to translate How Gertrude Teaches her Little Ones, 
but perceiving that in the confused state of public 
opinion a mere translation could not clear up the matter, 
he resolved to embody the most interesting and practi 
cal parts in a larger work, which should give an authen 
tic history of Pestalozzi's life, establishments, works, 
and method. But he fell into the error he wished 
to correct : like many others, he thought he knew far 
better than Pestalozzi, so he paraphrased and polished 
his expressions, but failed to reproduce his thought ; if 
he did not in some cases wilfully misrepresent it, he 
certainly often missed the main principles. He had 
never been with Pestalozzi ; he was at Yverdun for a 

1 A copy of this is in the British Museum : Beitrag zur Bio- 
graphiz Heinrich Pestalozzi's, etc. 

xxx Introduction. 

year, but it was after Pestalozzi had gone. In Eng 
land he has been credited with being an eye-witness, 1 
and he did not correct the mistake. At that time 
nothing was known of his unenviable reputation in 
connection with Pestalozzi's death. He was not the 
missionary Pestalozzi would have sent us. His frag 
ments have hitherto been the only portions of How 
Gertrude Teaches open to those who do not read 
German. They show clearly that he did not under 
stand Pestalozzi, and that a literal and full translation 
of that work was necessary. Biber's influence unfor 
tunately has not yet passed away. 

Later a truer conception of him arose. Parliament 
in 1839 was discussing national education, and con 
tinued to do so for over thirty years. About the 
middle of the century a wave of social and political 
disturbance like that at its beginning, only less 
violent directed attention to education. Brougham 
said in the House of Lords, 1839, " All parties confess 
we are far less educated than the people of Central 
Europe." Pestalozzi's influence there had evidently 
been divined, for Sir Jas. Kay Shuttle worth, on 
behalf of the Government, endeavoured to diffuse a 
knowledge of his method among London teachers 
without success. He introduced the " Tables of the 
Relations of Numbers." From the same source origi 
nated, I believe, a translation, in 1855, 'by J. Tilleard 3 
of Raumer's Life of Pestalozzi an article in his 
Geschichte der Padagogik. This was not likely to 

1 "Biber, writing as an eye-witness, says" . . . Pestalozzi 
and his Principles, p. 141. (Published by Home and Colonial 
Society, 3rd Edn., 1873.) 

Introduction. xxxi 

promote his teaching ; it presents his weakest side 
strongly, and in some ways entirely misrepresents him. 
Later it produced more than could have been expected, 
and fruit after its own kind also. 

The translator of Karl von E/aumer's l work believes 
it to be most accurate, unbiassed, and truthful ; others, 
carried away by admiration, have too implicitly ac 
cepted Pestalozzi's applications ; but Raumer's great 
merit is that he shows how Pestalozzi's principles and 
practice are diametrically opposed. Who are these 
"others"? Then, Raumer himself says, contradiction 
is especially characteristic of How Gertrude Teaches, 
and begins on its title-page ; this work " contains 
fundamental principles of the highest importance, side 
by side with the most glaring blunders and absurd 
ities." It is a difficult work ; he will analyse it. In it 
are three elements (1) " It is the desire of his (Pesta 
lozzi's) whole life. (2) The second element is a fierce 
fulminating battle against the sins and education of 
his time. (3) The education he proposes." This divides 
into practical skill, of which little is said, and theo 
retical knowledge ; which is based on " observation. 
What does Pestalozzi mean by observation ? Simply 
directing the senses to outward objects, and exciting 
consciousness of the impressions produced on them by 
these objects." This is Raumer's view of Anschau- 
ung. Pestalozzi never limits it to objects, nor to the 
first simple stage ; he includes sound (p. 114). u But 
just as we begin to think we understand Pestalozzi," 

1 Von Raumer was, I believe, the Minister of Education who 
prohibited the Kindergarten in Prussia in 1851. 

xxxii Introduction. 

says Raumer, " he leads us again into uncertainty as 
to the idea he attaches to observation." Then, of 
course, he will follow Pestalozzi and learn his mean 
ing ; not so ; Raumer goes no farther. Pestalozzi's 
conception is not Raumer's, but his own. He asks him 
self, when he examines the elements of his system, 
What is the basis of Anschauung ? What are its ele 
ments ? But this " deep psychology " is a thicket of 
impenetrable thorns, and Raumer turns aside. He 
brings, as others have done, limited preconceptions to 
the study, and, instead of learning Pestalozzi's mean 
ing, censures him for offering conceptions different 
from his own. " Many men glanced at me, but found 
little of themselves in me," are Pestalozzi's own words. 
And Raumer sees not the first principles of this work 
he so severely handles ; he puts his " simple " notion of 
Anschauung for the masters, and all else he knows not. 
, How Gertrude Teaches rests on development and 
psychology. All Raumer says of the first is " Pesta 
lozzi repeatedly dwells on intellectual development " ; 
to him it is of no importance, while his psychology 
shrinks away from the first difficulty. What prospect 
is there of accurate, unbiassed judgment, if its funda 
mental principles are not even recognised or known ? 
Having himself shown that he cannot satisfactorily 
deal with the principles, he proceeds to their applica 
tion with the same result. It is in this work the con 
tradictions, blunders, and absurdities exist ; they are 
concentrated about Language. Raumer notices very 
little else, so that on these errors in language-teaching 
his whole strength is put forth ; these are the materials 
on which he forms his estimate. 

Introduction. xxxiii 

The origin of language Pestalozzi connects with ex 
pression, and that with impression and thought, and 
all with development and psychology. His system is 
a connected whole from his point of view. His Ian- ^7 
guage-teaching consists of lessons in (1) sound ; (2) 
words ; (3) language. Raumer selects the extreme 
errors only, under each division, in support of his posi 
tion, and says nothing on the other side. He does not 
indicate how they arose, naturally, out of the thought 
at that time. In his first attempts to apply the 
principles he perceived Pestalozzi stumbles and errs ; 
but he learned from his errors. He says at the outset 
he must lead us through the labyrinth of confusions 
he had himself to pass through to get light that is 
one purpose of the book. There is another great 
omission. Nothing is said of Pestalozzi's own criticism 
and revision. He had abandoned all these glaring 
blunders and contradictions, the essential portions of 
Raumer's case against him, long before Raumer wrote. 
It is strange Raumer did not know this. This criti- 
cism has had such pernicious influence here, and is 
so often seriously quoted as if it were true, we will 
sketch its main details. 

(1) Sound. Raumer quotes what is said about 
spelling sounds to the child in the cradle (pp. 90, 91), 
but not the note on the same page. " These attempts 
were abandoned, owing to deeper knowledge. They 
were but vague aspirations towards methods of which 
I was far from clear." (2) Words. Here Raumer 
founds his objections on the Mother's Book. This, 
Pestalozzi says, never existed ; it was abandoned for 
the same reasons " erroneous views I then held " (p. 

xxxiv Introduction. 

102). To " lists of names " there is reasonable objec 
tion, but they are included in the above note. We 
shall see under " Language " the value of his state 
ment "it is not even remotely hinted that the chil 
dren ought to know the things named." (3) Language. 
" Names, mere names," says E/aumer, and ignores all 
Pestalozzi insists on again and again, e.g. " this purpose 
. . . to express ourselves clearly about objects ".(p. 
98). " I try in no way to lessen the free play of the 
child's own thought." " I try to make the child, who 
is in many ways acquainted with objects, still clearer 
about them so far as they are known to him " (p. 101). 
It is necessary to exercise thought as well as the 
senses ; to appeal to memory and knowledge as well as 
to the object. The specimen may be in the hand, and 
yet ideas about it may be obscure. Pestalozzi is here 
dealing with " means, to clear ideas." " Socratising " 
is often better without objects. These " means " are 
another scheme, but it is still founded on Anschauung. 
He concludes Letter VII. with, " It must be understood 
throughout the whole teaching, the result is attained 
not by isolated exercises, but by connecting the whole 
sequence, by which the mind rises from sense-impres 
sion (observation) to clear ideas " (p. 132). In face 
of this Baumer complains that of observation nothing 
is said ; and he concludes after referring to the teach 
ing of geography, which had also been abandoned as 
erroneous by repeating, "Pestalozzi does not begin 
with observation, but with words." From Haunter's 
conception of Anschauung, sound seems excluded. He 
often puts " words " for " sounds." It was the " sound " 
teaching at Stanz which led Pestalozzi to sense- 

Introduction. x x x v 

impression. So the child and the race begin lan 
guage. " Sound, however simple, if it expresses an 
impression, is more than sound." The whole sequence 
is connected, language and thought are inseparable ; 
thought originates from impression, and so too does 

Raumer's criticism comes to nothing ; every item of 
importance is already abandoned, and every application 
might be withdrawn, and the principles of How Ger 
trude Teaches will remain intact. He patched these 
cast-off rags into a lifeless scarecrow ; at a crisis in 
the history of education in this country, it frightened 
our teachers away from Pestalozzi. What else could 
it do ? To parade these rejected errors is not accurate. 
Contradictions there may be, for his theory comes from 
his practice, and his practice from his theory ; so there 
is constant growth and change. Tke true system, like 
true education, is drawn out of the teacher ; it is the 
expression of himself, and grows and changes with 
his growth. 

In direct contrast to E/aumer appeared the most im 
portant original work which this country has produced 
in connection with Pestalozzi Education, by Mr. Her 
bert Spencer, 1861. By this time another Royal Com 
mission had finished its work, and the discussion of 
Education had extended and included higher teaching. 
The old fundamental question, words or things, in the 
modern form, classics or science, had become foremost. 
The question of real as opposed to book knowledge, 
which Pestalozzi had worked out half a century earlier, 
reappeared in our midst ; and science, strengthened 
by its recent and many victories, demanded recogni- 

xxxvi Introduction. 

tion. Among its distinguished champions was Mr. 
Herbert Spencer. He had his own scheme, but he had 
no doubt where help was to be found for teaching 
science. " He would defend in its fullest extent the 
doctrine which Pestalozzi inaugurated." Of which 
Fichte also had said, " I find in this man's system of 
education the true remedy for the ills of humanity, if 
not the only 'means of fitting the mind for scientific 
teaching." Philosopher, psychologist, biologist, the ex 
ponent of evolution, Mr. Herbert Spencer was able to 
see Pestalozzi from all these sides ; he had another 
great advantage experience, real not book know 
ledge of Pestalozzi's method. The internal evidence 
of this was lost on educators at that time. Prof. J. 
Payne, in his first published lecture, The Curriculum of 
Modern Education" 1866, says of Mr. H. Spencer's 
work : " It is evolved, apparently, out of the depths of 
his own consciousness, for he does not profess to have 
any practical experience either as teacher or school 
master." He did not see that if Mr. Spencer had not 
taught others, he had learned to teach himself, and 
self-education is a kind of practical experience which 
includes the problems of teacher and pupil. That self- 
education is " practicable," he says, " we can ourselves 
testify, having been in youth thus led to solve the com 
paratively complex problems of perspective." That 
was Pestalozzi's, or rather Kriisi's method. "We know 
now that his father, "W. Gr. Spencer, was a distin 
guished teacher, possibly a disciple of Pestalozzi also, 
for his Inventional Geometry stands alone, our most 
Pestalozzian school-book : Huxley's Biology is similar. 
Payne says nothing in this lecture of the Pestalozzian 

Introduction. xxxvii 

basis of Mr. Spencer's work lie had hardly begun to 
study Pestalozzi then; but he does say that at this time 
five years after its publication " he had not a clear 
idea how science should be taught. Mr. Spencer had." 
It is not his primary business to expound Pestalozzi, 
but he does so incidentally as none beside have done. 
Unlike Raumer, he insists on principles on the spirit, 
not the form. Although he defends his whole doctrine, 
much evil is likely to arise from uncritical application 
of his method and from confounding form with spirit. 
There is but little disproportionate criticism of tenta 
tive and rejected experiments. There is some, for 
he relies on Biber, and adopts his mistakes. How 
Gertrude Teaches seems unknown to him, for he quotes^, 
against Pestalozzi the usual passage from the Spell 
ing Book, Biber 's version. If he had seen the work 
itself he would have known it was abandoned. Biber, 
like Eaumer, ignores the notes and revision. There 
is another proof he attributes to Comte, with some 
doubt, the doctrine that the child's development follows 
that of the race. Comte's Positive Philosophy was pub 
lished 1830. If he had read this work of Pestalozzi's, 
he must have seen the statement at pp. 149-151. Mr. 
Spencer alone among our exponents perceives any 
value in this doctrine. Other of his special principles 
purely psychological as the "prototype," are not 
mentioned. Biber wishes to save his readers the trouble 
of thinking " they had no predilection for the transcen 
dental," so Mr. Spencer is saved this incomprehensible 
jargon or deep psychology; he could have shown its 
relation and value. This has yet to be done; "every 
thing depends on it," so Pestalozzi thought. 


xxxviii Introduction. 

. But Mr. Herbert Spencer adopts Biber's opinions of 
-Pestalozzi as a thinker. He says, " As described even 
by his admirers, Pestalozzi was a man of impartial in 
tuitions a man who had occasional flashes of insight, 
rather than a man of S} T stematic thought. 

His admirers who first said, " If ever he throws out 
a spark that might lead us to think him capable of 
something, the next moment it is dark," were the 
people of Stanz, who hated him as enemy and heretic. 
He reports this (p. 21), and Biber polishes it into " His 
genius was like the dark summer cloud, pregnant with 
light, but incapable of emitting it except in sudden 
flashes " (Biber's Life, p. 51). These are the admirers 
Mr. Spencer supports. He continues, "Much of his 
power was due not to calmly reasoned-out plans," 
but to profound sympathy and quick perceptions of 
childish needs. Was nob this sympathy and power 
due to knowledge gained from observation of the chil 
dren and experiments in teaching ? to his own first 
principles, in fact ? He says it was, and at the same 
time he anticipated Mr. Spencer's and Biber's next point 
against him, which is, " He lacked the ability logically 
to co-ordinate and develop the truths he thus from time 
to time laid hold of ; and had in a great measure to 
leave this to his assistants." Mr. Spencer has appar 
ently the above passage of Biber still in view. It 
praises Niederer, the bright and shining light, to whom 
Pestalozzi is but a lamp glimmering in forest gloom. 
In the Preface of this work Pestalozzi anticipates this. 
Niederer's deductive, and his own inductive methods 
are different ways to one end. His way, that of obser 
vation and experiment the only way possible to him 

Introduction. xxxix 

is one way to truth : " by it lam what I am, and know 
what I Jcnow " (p. 6). Is not this the secret of his sym 
pathy and power ? Those who doubt his ability, but 
cannot deny his sympathy, power, and insight, are 
driven to attribute them to " inspiration." His own 
reasonable and sufficient explanation is that they are 
results of his first principle ; but this is rejected as in 
credible. Of our exponents, none have such powers of 
judging him from " many sides " ; that Mr. H. Spencer 
sees him through the medium of Biber is unfortunate, 
but even with this disadvantage none have pro 
nounced more strongly for him and his system. " The 
Pestalozzian ideal remains to be achieved," he says ; 
and also u True education is possible only to a true 

On science and its teaching, there was abundant 
material awaiting the teacher who could correlate and 
apply it. Besides Mr. Herbert Spencer, our greatest 
scientific authorities Faraday, Forbes, Huxley, Tyndal, 
and others had contributed to the discussion largely 
there was also the evidence given by the Commission 
on Public Schools. From the discussion, educationalists 
evolved. Prof. Joseph Payne, " who had always been 
fond of science," had been thinking of the question 
for twenty years before his first lecture was pub 
lished, in 1866, which deals with the claims of classics 
and science. Liberal, enlightened, and learning all 
his life, at twenty- three he published his Expo 
sition of Jacotot's Method ; after years of practical 
teaching, he retired in 1863, and devoted himself to 
the study of its principles, just as this question is 
foremost. His first search is for a method of science 

xl Introduction. 

teaching. He studies all scientific men have said. "It 
is very valuable," he says, " but it left the real diffi 
culties of teaching science untouched ; but I confess 
I have not a clear idea of the manner in which science 
should be taught, never having been enlightened on 
that point" (p. 275, vol. i., Payne's Works). 

Pestalozzi seems unknown to him. Four years 
later, dealing with " Educational Methods," he is first 
mentioned, s Payne is evidently studying him, and 
Tilleard's translation of B,aumer is his text-book. He 
had at this time no definite opinions of his own. He 
quotes E-amsauer's account from Raumer, only making 
a few comments on it, and accepts without ques 
tion or surprise Raumer's estimate and decision. 
But there was one word which arrested him. The 
translator had used " observation " as an equivalent for 
" Anschauung." Forbes had said, " The great defect 
of our education is neglect of the educating of the 
observing powers a very different matter, be it noted, 
from scientific or industrial instruction"] and all our 
best authorities said the same thing. Payne knew 
this well ; he quotes it, he is correlating the ideas of 
scientific men on science teaching. His Essay on the 
Culture of the Observing Powers of Children, 1872, 
and his True Foundation of Science Teaching, 1873, 
showed he had found what he wanted. He had 
learned how science should be taught; and in 1875, 
when he lectured on Pestalozzi, we at once see the 
difference. He has opinions and knowledge of his 
own ; now Pestalozzi " stands forth among educational 
reformers as the man whose influence 011 education 
is wider, deeper, more penetrating than that of all 

In troduction. x 1 i 

the rest the prophet and the sovereign of the domain 
in which he lived and laboured " (p. 98, vol. ii., Payne's 
Works). x 

But by the side of this enthusiastic recognition, 
founded on his own knowledge of the Method for 
he now used it he yet repeats Raumer's mistakes, 
and is led by him into confusion. He mixes what 
he knows with inferences from what he is told by 
one who understands not, with this result: he attri 
butes to Pestalozzi exactly the opposite of what he says 
and means, and is surprised. 

Here is one example. Pestalozzi applied his doctrines 
of development and psychology to language a diffi 
cult subject. He may be right or wrong ; but before 
we can understand or judge, we must get some idea, 
however vague, of his meaning. We must at least try 
to read his thought, not put ours in its place, and then 
condemn him. He says, " Every word is evolved, as 
ideas are, from sense-impression, or by observation. 
* Man first observed the characteristics of objects, and 
then named them.' In language is reflected all im 
pressions man received from nature." To this Raumer 
replies, " Language has nothing to do with observation. 
Why should I not be able to form a perfectly correct 
notion of an object that has no name for instance, a 
newly-discovered plant ? Language only gives us the 
expression for the impression of the senses." 1 Here 

1 Raumer continues : "In it is reflected the whole world of 
our perceptions. It is, as Pestalozzi rightly observes, the reflex 
of all the impressions which nature's entire domain has made on 
the human race. But what does he go on to say ? Therefore 
I make use of it, and endeavour by the guidance of its uttered 
sounds to reproduce in the child the self-same impressions which, 

xlii Introduction. 

Raumer does not understand Pestalozzi. The whole 
passage is given below for comparison. He changes 
the thought entirely into his own, and puts it in place 
of Pestalozzi's, and then easily convicts him of contra 
diction and incapacity. Later in the same passage he 
changes " sound " to " word, "and gets into deeper con 
fusion. Then Payne follows him " Raumer shows," he 
says, " that Pestalozzi erred against his own principles. 
. . . No doubt he is continually tending to put (words) 
into the place of things. In one passage he says, 'Great 
is the gift of language ; it gives the child in one 
moment what nature required thousands of years to 
give to man.' The only meaning of which is, that 
if you give the words you give the knowledge. A 
wonderful principle, certainly, to come from the pen 
of one who maintains that observation personal 
exercise of the senses is the true and essential basis 
of knowledge " (Works of J. Payne, vol. ii., p. 106). 

But it is still more wonderful that Payne did not 
consult Pestalozzi himself. He insists from his first 

in the human race, have occasioned and formed these sounds. 
Great is the gift of language. It gives in one moment what 
nature required thousands of years to give to men. 

In that case every child will be a rich heir of antiquity 
without the trouble of acquisition. Words (Pestalozzi says 
sounds), would be current notes for the things they designate. 
But both Nature and History protest against payment of such 
currency, and give only to him that hath. 

Pestalozzi's further treatment of language clearly proves that, 
contrary to his own principles, he really ascribed a magical 
power to words, that he put them more or less in the place of 
observation, that lie made the reflected image of a thing equal 
to the thing itself" (Raumer's Life, translated by J. Tilleard, 
p. 30). Compare pp. Ill, 112; also pp. 149-151, How Gertrude 

Introduction. xliii 

lecture on the difference between knowing a thing and 
knowing something about it, between knowledge and 

" If you want to know a thing, go to it and learn," 
he says ; and yet he goes to Raumer, not to Pestalozzi, 
and that, too, after he has by his own experience 
and knowledge come to a clearer, more accurate con 
ception of him than Raumer's book about him presents. 
From one imperfect medium to another Pestalozzi's 
ideas are transmitted, until they are distorted beyond 
recognition or are quite reversed. In the whole his 
tory of his teaching here, now extending over nearly 
a century while his doctrine of real knowledge 
is preached, and readers are advised to go to his 
works no one goes. There is not one, so far as I see, 
even of our best expositors, who have read, in Herbart's 
sense, How Gertrude Teaches, his greatest educational 
work, or The Method. 

Pestalozzi himself, as a whole, is unknown. By his 
own work he should be judged, not by the street gossip 
of Stanz, however much improved ; nor by authority 
and opinion which led even Payne to conclude that he 
was " incapable of controlling his conceptions." His 
powers and his thought may not be extraordinary, but 
let us see him as he is. He is obscured by all kinds of 
obstructions. Those who might know him, who read 
his own language, avoid fairly facing his thought. 
We have shut our eyes to it so long that now we 
maintain it does not exist. Petty details, unimportant 
by-matters, and tentative experiments which he had 
abandoned, are overloaded with criticism and com 
ment, while fundamental principles on which he says 

xliv Introduction. 

" everything depends," such as the " prototype," first 
form, or "pure intuition," are passed by literally with 
out a word. This is wonderful. We have not learned 
that first lesson of Sfcanz the value of real knowledge 
as opposed to book-knowledge and hearsay. 

Payne relies on Eaumer, an eyewitness, Minister of 
Instruction, author of a History of Education. If he is 
not to be relied on, who is ? Payne follows wonder 
ing; he never suspects his leader. Eaumer is not 
surprised ; for Pestalozzi often contradicts himself. 
But time has its revenges, Eaumer dismisses de 
velopment with one sentence. Fifty years before 
Darwin, Pestalozzi applied the doctriDe of develop 
ment to language. Eaumer's inability to comprehend 
it led to misrepresentation, which has been freely 
transmitted to us ; and yet just as Pestalozzi's 
doctrine of development is supported by Darwin,, 
his application of it to language is stated again 
in almost his own words, and supported by the pro 
found knowledge of Professor Max Mtiller. He was 
a psychologist, and that alone to common-sense people 
was enough proof that he was impracticable. We 
are all psychologists now ; but his psychology is as 
incomprehensible to us as it was to Eaumer. We 
have not penetrated the mist of his confused thought, 
and yet if Fichte and Herbart are to be trusted, the 
mist and confusion are in us, not in the psychology of 
Kant as conceived and modified by him. 

It is natural to ask, Is this the kind of evidence and 
authority on which the ignorance and incapacity of 
Pestalcrzzi rest? Other misrepresentations can be 
traced back, till they become inverted. We want 

Introduction. xlv 

just judgment. Let us have all evidence the Raumers 
and Ramsauers can give, but why exclude Pesta- 
lozzi himself? In working out his scheme contra 
dictions necessarily appear. But if he was so ignorant, 
how did he improve his Professor's Greek translation 
of Demosthenes ? Is it possible that he can forget his 
studies at the university, and those also for Church 
and Law? It is strange he can not only write 
Leonard and Gertrude, but revise his reviser. Stranger 
still, that Fichte and Herbart did not discover his 
ignorance. They study and follow him. Of this 
work How Gertrude Teaches, Herbart says it is not 
easy enough to read. Herbart's own books are not 
light reading ; he has read and understood this, he 
says nothing of the absence of logical ability to co 
ordinate and develop truths, nor the want of systematic 
thought, but the reverse. 1 Impractical he was, beside 
being a psychologist. He gave his silver shoebuckles 
to a beggar when his pocket was empty ; but when 
searching into the nature of teaching, he is practical 
and even scientific. It will be objected that he is 
always going wrong. But what science was ever 
gained without thousands of faulty and fruitless ex 
periments? The real worker knows this, especially if 
his method is by observation and experiment. 

He is honest and open ; we see his work in the rough 

1 Herbart says, " It was the discovery of this sequence, of the 
arrangement and co-ordination of what was to be learned con 
temporaneously and what consecutively, which formed, as I 
understood it, Pestalozzi's chief aim. Granted he had found it, 
or at least was on the road to it. ... There was no deviation 
from the true course." (Quoted in Introduction to Herbart's 
Science of Education, H. M. and E. Flelkin, pp. 11, 12.) 

xlvi Introduction. 

state, the vague thought growing clear. If we are 
accustomed to observe the course of thought, and have 
travelled this same road, we shall need no directions 
to follow him. Authors usually hide their errors and 
ignorance ; we see only their knowledge, not the 
materials nor the mental action by which they form 
it ; we may see the finished statue, but are not allowed 
into the studio. He reveals all, and for some that is 
too much. 

Another proof of his lack of practical ability con 
stantly urged is Yverdun, but compare it with Stanz. 
There the facts are simple, no one disputes them ; this 
cannot be said of Yverdun. By his own power alone, 
absolutely without means or materials, under the 
most difficult circumstances, with most troublesome 
children, out of chaos, in a few weeks he evolved 
order. " If ever there was a miracle, it was here." 
This success was repeated wherever he alone had free 
play. We want more equally balanced accounts of 
him i we may get nearer than any eye-witness, but we 
rely on one who rests on another. "We prefer to read 
the book about him rather than his own thought in 
this book, which is " not easy enough to read." 

In his " Essays on Educational Reformers," the Rev. 
R. H. Quick, one of the many friends and fellow- workers 
with Payne, takes us into other regions, and gives 
later views. Pestalozzi, he says, " proved great both 
as thinker and doer. He not only thought out what 
should be done, but made splendid efforts to do it." 
Payne's estimate rests partly on his own knowledge. 
He verified by experiment ; his sympathy is with 
science. Quick verifies his quotations ; his sympathy 

Introduction. xlvii 

is literary rather than scientific. With less know 
ledge of the fundamental principle than Payne, he 
is not led so far astray, for he has a better guide. 
His estimate and criticism are, as a whole, more 
equal. He sought carefully and long to answer a 
question which, shortly before the second edition of 
his " Essays " appeared, he proposed for discussion at 
the Education Society, " Why is Pestalozzi so highly 
esteemed on the Continent and so little valued here ? " 
He never quite answered this to his own satisfaction, 
although he acquiesced in the decision. Pestalozzi is 
many sided. The well-defined stages in his develop 
ment have each representatives and corresponding 
expression in his works. The Method and Letter 1 of 
How Gertrude Teaches contain his account of An- 
schauung, and of this first stage Payne is represen 
tative. Thought follows observation, he analyzes the 
first principle into its elements ; this results in " means 
of making ideas clear." How Gertrude Teaches is 
chiefly concerned with this second phase : with it Quick 
is more directly associated. " The art of teaching in 
Pestalozzi's system consists in analyzing the knowledge 
the children should acquire about their surroundings, 
arranging it in a regular sequence, and bringing it to 
the child's consciousness gradually, . and in a way in 
which their minds will act upon it." But generally 
he too rests on another, Roger de Guimps, whose Life 
of Pestalozzi, recently published, is the best we have, 
De Guimps' criticism and conclusions are of a kind 
quite different from that of Raumer and Biber. For 
the first time we have copies of original documents, 
not coloured and partial hearsay. We have the 

xlviii Introduction. 

materials to form our own opinions. There is, too, a 
rational principle for educational basis. 

Quick's essay is very appreciative, but his treatment 
of fundamental principles like that of Anschauung, 
is characteristic. " We English," he says, " have 
troubled ourselves so little about Pestalozzi, or rather 
about the theory of education, we have not cared to 
get equivalent words for Anschauung. l Intuition,' 
which some borrow from the French, was taken (first, 
I believe, by Kant) from the Latin ; " but intuition 
is used by South and Dryden. This one reference to 
Kant indicates association, but it does not occur to 
him that Kant uses it to express a new conception. 
No; he thinks we shall be wise in following those 
writers who borrow from the French. " If the Ger 
mans find the French can express their own thoughts 
more clearly than they can themselves, we may think 
ourselves fortunate that we have French interpreters." 
" I therefore gladly turn to M. Buisson, and translate 
what he says about intuition " (p. 361, E.R.). Then he 
goes to Jullien. Again our guides turn aside and go 
not to Pestalozzi himself, from whom alone we can 
learn, not even to his contemporaries and allies in 
thought. " No Englishman," Quick says, " may have 
found a good word to indicate Anschauung, but one 
Englishman at least had the idea of it long before 
Pestalozzi Locke." " Thus in theory Pestalozzi was, 
however unconsciously, a follower of Locke." Quick 
had not read the principles on which this scheme rests, 
pp. 84, 85. What is there in Locke of " the prototype on 
which all depends " ? Of " the form in which the culture 
of mankind is determined " ? or " every word is a result 

Introduction. xlix 

of the understanding evolved from ripened sensuous 
impressions " ? 

The difficulty is not in the word, but in the 
thought. Pestalozzi's conception will not be found in 
the dictionary ; we may seek it in vain in Buisson 
and Jullien. His psychology is not that of Locke. 
Fichte, the most competent authority, says that even 
in Leonard and Gertrude, which was published the 
same year as the Critique of Pure Reason, "Pesta- 
lozzi had been led to many of the same results as 
Kant. Kant analyzed experience ; Pestalozzi, in this 
work, seeks the elements of Anschauung, the basis 
of all education. When his ideas become clear about 
it, when he has found its elements, other difficult 
terms are used, of which this is the parent, such as 
"form" and "prototype" (Urform), which might be 
translated "pure form," or "pure intuition," and this, 
again, is Kant's term. These terms, the nature of the 
inquiry, its psychological basis, his intimacy with 
Fichte, all indicate the direction in which we might 
search, if we go beyond Pestalozzi himself. 

His deep psychology has been the source of much 
error. Biber, our authority, not Pestalozzi, following 
the fashion of his time, ridicules Kant's philosophy. 
He represents these principles of Pestalozzi as " incom 
prehensible jargon ; " but when we remember that it 
was against this same Biber's misrepresentations that 
Pestalozzi died protesting to answer them he longed 
for a few more weeks of life to this attack on him 
we may owe Biber's refuge here we may be allowed 
to think for ourselves, and if we know nothing of these 
depths, we may at least weigh against Biber the testi- 

1 Introduction. 

mony of Fichte and Herbart. Pestalozzi believes that 
this deep psychology connects his whole scheme, and 
it is only fair we should see it from his position. If 
we do not agree with him then, we shall talk less of 
disconnected thought and incapacity. Let us at least 
follow Pestalozzi, not Biber. The " deep " psychology 
may be put aside, and much of his work remains. Mr. 
H. Spencer, who is of another school of thought, never 
recognises it, and yet defends the system to its fullest 
extent. Neither Quick nor De Guimps mention it. How 
far it is essential, what imperfection there may be on 
his part, how far it differs from Kant, Fichte and 
Herbart, its relation to his system and teaching, 
authority greater than Biber must determine. Unfortu 
nately, he is the man who obscures the view of Mr. 
Herbert Spencer, who might have done him justice. 

Another doctrine of Pestalozzi Quick dismisses very 
curtly the parallel development of child and race. He 
does not even attribute it to Pestalozzi, but to Mr. 
Herbert Spencer, and his only comment on it is, " This 
is the thesis on which I have no opinion to offer." 

We see that our ablest exponents of Pestalozzi do 
not study him directly ; they are each supported by an 
attendant spirit, who in turn is supported by them. 
Mr. Herbert Spencer has Biber, Payne relies on R,au- 
mer, and Quick has De Guimps. When Mr. Herbert 
Spencer says Pestalozzi was a man who had occasional 
flashes of insight rather than a man of systematic 
thought, and that he lacked logical ability to develop 
his thought, he is following Biber. We cannot accept 
this as his own final judgment on the subject, for he had 
evidently not the facts before him. When Payne says, 
" If he means anything," implying that Pestalozzi^ 

Introduction. li 

even when most definitely stating his principles, uses 
words that mean nothing, he is following Raumer. 
Payne's own teaching is often nearer Pestalozzi's than 
the erroneous teaching he attributes to him. He has 
not the facts, either. Quick has a more genial and truer 
guide, and this is reflected in his work. De Guimps 
is free from the grave defects of Raumer and Biber. 

The authority of Mr. H. Spencer and Payne is 
strengthened by their undoubted knowledge. This 
gives weight to the information and opinions they trans 
mit ; but those who rely on them, and repeat truth and 
error without real knowledge, confuse, degrade and 
sometimes reverse the words, thought and teaching 
of Pestalozzi. His influence and power are destroyed 
by unduly insisting on what he calls his " tentative 
and erring means," and his incapacity. Common- 
sense people will have nothing to do with him. In 
vain did Raumer's book appeal to London teachers. 
" Separate my doubtful statements from those that 
are indisputable," he said, but he never expected the 
doubtful statements would be collected and selected, 
while the indisputable were excluded or neglected. 

It seems clear, that it is most difficult for the best of 
us to follow always that simple principle of observation, 
or sense-impression which we hold so easy. We say 
we have learned all he had to teach, and are far be 
yond him; we have not begun our A B C of An- 
schauung ; even those of us who know it and hold to it 
most firmly are liable to fall. Personal observation, per 
sonal thought, and the expression of our own ideas, are 
still chiefly matters of theory. We have not learned 
enough of his first principles to apply them to himself. 
Truly, u the ideal of Pestalozzi remains to be achieved." 

ota (Serimbje Crn^ea er Cjjiforwr, 


IF these letters may be considered in some respects, as already 
answered and partly refuted, by time, and thus appear to 
belong to the past rather than to the present, yet if my idea 
of elementary education has any value in itself and is fitted 
to survive in the future, then these letters, so far as they 
throw light on the way in which the germ of the idea was 
developed in me, may have a living value for every man who 
considers the psychological development of educational 
methods worthy of his attention. Besides this general view 
of the matter, it is certainly remarkable that this idea, in the 
midst of the simplicity and artlessness of my nature and life, 
came forth from the darkness within me as from the night. 
In its first germ it burnt within me like a fire that showed a 
power of seizing on the human mind ; but afterwards, when 
men looked upon it and spoke of it as a matter of reason in 
its deeper meaning, it did not maintain its first vitality, 
and even seemed for a time, to be quenched. Even in this 
early stage Ith, Johannsen, Niederer, 2 and others gave a 
significance to my own expression of my views, which went 
far beyond that which I gave them myself, but which there 
fore stimulated public attention in a way that could not be 
sustained. Gruner, von Turk, and Chavannes 3 about the same 
time took up the actual results of our experiments in just 
as marked a way, and brought them before the public in a 


2 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

manner which went far beyond my original view of the sub 
ject and the power that lay at the basis of my efforts. It 
is true there lay deep in my soul's consciousness a prevision 
of the highest that might and should be aimed at, through a 
deeper insight into the very nature of education ; and it is 
indisputable that the idea of elementary education was im 
plied in the view I took in its full significance, and shimmered 
forth in every word that I spoke. -^But the impulse within 
, me to seek and find for the people simple methods of instruc 
tion, intelligible to every one, did not originate in the pre 
vision that lay in me of the highest that could come from 
the results of these methods when found ; but on the con 
trary this prevision resulted from the reality of the impulse 
that led me to seek these methods. This soon led me natu 
rally and simply to see that intelligible methods of instruc 
tion must, as a general principle, start from simple beginning 
Vpoints ; and that if they are carried on in a continuous gradu 
ated series the results must be psychologically certain. But 
this view of mine was far from being philosophically and 
clearly defined and scientifically connected. As I was unable 
by abstract deductions to arrive at a satisfactory result, I 
wanted to prove my views practically, and tried originally by 
experiments to make clear to myself what I really wished 
and was capable of doing, in order by this path to find the 
means of accomplishing my purpose. All that I strove for 
then, and strive for now, is closely connected in my mind 
with that which twenty years before I had tried on my 

But the higher significance that was given to my views, so 
.loudly, so variously, and I must say, so carelessly and hastily, 
gave a direction to the form and method of carrying them 
out in my Institute, that was not really the outcome of my 
own soul, nor that of the people round me, nor that of my 
helpers, and I was in this way, led away from myself, into 

Preface. 3 

a region strange to me, which I never trod before. Cer 
tainly this visionary world, into which we fell as from the 
clouds, was .not only quite new ground to me, but with my 
eccentricity, with my want of scientific culture, in the singu 
larity of my whole being, as well as my age at that time, in 
these things there were reasons why I could scarcely expect 
even a half-lucky star to shine upon this course. Insur 
mountable difficulties seemed to obstruct the hope of being 
able to advance in this region to happy results. These lay 
in the peculiarities of my assistants, who, though they were 
in part quite helpless themselves, should have stretched out 
helping hands to me in my efforts on this new ground. 
Meanwhile a lively impulse to tread this region was roused 
in our midst. But the cry " We can do it " before we could, 
" We are doing it " before we did it, was too loud, too dis 
tinct, too often repeated, partly by men whose testimony had 
a real value in itself, and deserved attention. But it had too 
much charm for us ; we made more of it than it really said 
or meant. Briefly, the time as it was, dazzled us ; yet we 
still worked activel}^ in order practically to approach our 
end. We succeeded in many respects in the way of bring 
ing a few beginning subjects of instruction into better order 
and to a better psychological foundation ; and our efforts on 
this side might have had really important results ; but the 
practical activity, which alone could secure the success of our 
purpose, was gradually lost in our midst in a lamentable 
manner. Matters strange and far removed from our duty 
soon absorbed our time and powers, and gave a mortal blow 
to the simplicity, the progress, the concentration, and even 
the humanity of our original efforts. Great ideas for improv 
ing the world, which arose out of elevated views of our 
subject, and which soon became exaggerated, filled our 
heads, confused our hearts, and made our hands careless of 
the needs of the Institute that lay before our eyes. In this 

4 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

state of things the loss of the lofty spirit of our first union 
was inevitable ; our old love could be the same no more. 
We saw more or less all the evils under which we suffered, 
but no one sought for them enough and saw them where he 
ought, in himself. Every one blamed the other more or 
less ; every one required of the other what he himself 
neither did, nor could do ; and our greatest misfortune in 
this condition was that our very efforts, special and one 
sided, led us to seek help against the evils of our house in 
deep philosophical researches. We were, in general, unfit 
to find in this way what we sought. Niederer alone felt his 
own strength in this region in which we now ventured, and 
since in this power he had for many years stood alone in our 
midst, he gained such an overwhelming influence, not only 
over those around me, but also over me, that I actually lost 
myself in myself; and against my nature, and against all 
possibility of success, I tried to make myself and my house 
that which we ought to have been, in order to make any 
progress in this region. This preponderance that Niederer 
gained in our midst, and the views he laid down on this 
subject, so caught hold of me and led me on to such a 
resigned subjection and complete sacrifice and forgetfulness 
of myself, that I, as I know myself, can and must now say 
clearly, it is quite certain if he had been with us when I 
wrote these letters, I should have considered their whole 
contents, and consequently the idea of elementary education 
as it then lay before me, like a vision glimmering in the 
clouds, as coming from him and carried from his soul into 
mine. In order to believe this statement and look upon it 
as naturally and innocently as it conies from me you must 
really know me more ; you must distinctly know how I am, 
on the one side, animated by the conviction of how much I 
was and still am wanting in clear, philosophical, definite 
ideas on this subject ; and on the other side, the degree of my 

Preface. 5 

trust in the lofty views of my friend, and the weight which 
he would necessarily have upon those ideas lying dim within 
me, vague and limited. That Herr Niederer was not with 
us when I wrote these letters, is the only circumstance that 
makes it possible for me to see clearly what was Herr 
Niederer 's service in our efforts in elementary instruction, 
and what I may consider as coming from myself. I know 
how little this is, and how much and what it still requires 
if it is not to be a mere nothing, or at least if something is 
to come out of it. In the last respect my reward is greater 
than my merit. In any case it is quite clear to me that 
the deductive view of our efforts, advancing in front of 
the practical performance, far surpassing it, and leaving it 
behind, was Herr Niederer's view ; and that my view of the 
subject came out of a personal striving after methods, the 
execution of which forced me actively and experimentally to 
seek, to gain, and to work out what was not there and what 
as 3 T et I really knew not. These two efforts opened the ways 
on which each of us must go to reach the common end, and 
for which each of us felt in himself a special power. But 
we did not do this, and hindered one another, because we 
forced ourselves long, too long, to go with him hand in hand, 
I might say in the same shoes, and at the same pace with 
him. Our end was the same, but the road, which We should 
take to get to it, was marked out for each of us differently by 
Nature, and we ought to have recognised sooner, that each of 
us would reach his end with more ease and certainty, if he 
would step and go along it in perfect freedom and indepen 
dence. We were too different. The crumb lying on the 
road arrested me if I thought it would afford the least bit of 
nourishment to my effort and further it. I must pick it up. 
I must stop at it and examine it, and before I know it enough 
in this way I cannot possibly consider it critically and look 
upon it as instructive for me, in universal connection and 

6 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

combination with all the relations, which as a single thing, it 
bears to our efforts. My whole manner of life has given me 
no power, and no inclination, to strive hastily after bright 
and clear ideas on any subject, before, supported by facts, 
it has a background in me that has awakened some self- 
confidence. Therefore to my grave I shall remain in a 
kind of fog about most of my views. But I must say, if 
this fog has a background of various and sufficiently vivid 
sense-impressions, it is a holy fog for me. It is the only 
light in which I live, or can live. And in this peculiar 
twilight of mine I go on towards my goal in peace and con 
tent so long as I go in -peace and freedom, and at the point 
I have reached, in striving after my ideal, I stand firm to my 
conviction, that while I have done very little in my life to 
reach ideas that can be defined with philosophical certainty 
by words, yet in my own way I have found a few means to 
my end, which I should not have found by such philosophical 
inquiries after clear ideas of my subject, as I was capable 
of making. Therefore I do not entirely regret my back 
wardness. I ought not. I ought to pursue my way of experi 
ments, which is the way of my life, willingly and gladly, 
without desiring the fruit of a tree of knowledge that for 
me and for the idiosyncrasy of my nature, is forbidden fruit. 
If I pursue the road of my experiments, however limited, 
honestly, faithfully, and energetically, I think by doing so I 
am what I am, and know what I know, and my life and action, 
though imperfect, is not merely a blind groping after experi 
ments not really understood I hope it is more. I hope in my 
way to make some few points of my subject philosophically 
clear, that could not so easily be made equally clear in any 
other way. The idiosyncrasies of individuals are, in my 
opinion, the greatest blessing of human nature, and the one 
basis of its highest and most essential blessing^ ; therefore they 
should be respected in the highest degree. v They cannot be 

Preface. 7 

where we do not see them, and we do not see them when every 
thing stands in the way of their showing themselves, and every 
selfishness strives to make its own peculiarity rule, and to 
make the peculiarities of others subservient to its own. If we 
would respect them it is necessary that we should not sunder 
that which God hath joined together, and also that we should 
not join together that which God hath put asunder. Every 
artificial and forced joining together of heterogeneous things 
has according to its nature, the result of checking individual 
powers and qualities; and such unsuitably joined, and there 
fore checked and confused, individual powers and qualities 
express themselves then in every case as unnatural, forcibly 
brought forward, and work upon the whole mass, in whose 
interest they were thus brought together, in a destructive, 
confusing, and distorting manner. I know what I am not, 
and therefore may honestly say I would not be more than 
I am. But in order to use the powers that may fall into my 
hands as I am, I must use my powers freely and indepen 
dently, however little they may be, that the words " To 
him that hath, shall be given," may be true for me, and the 
others, "He that hath not, from him shall be taken away 
even that which he hath," may not be too depressingly ful 
filled in me. 

As I now look in this way upon the value that this book 
may have for me and the . world, I must let it appear 
exactly in the shape in which it had the courage to step 
forward twenty years ago. Meantime I have given the 
necessary account of our pedagogic progress in educational 
practice and methods, since then, in some of my new works-. 
I will go on doing this, and especially in the fifth* part of 

* The fifth part of Leonard and Gertrude never appeared, for 
the manuscript was lost with other works left behind by Pesta- 
lozzi, when it was sent to Paris to Josef Schmid, in the beginning of 
1840, to be published. 

8 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Leonard and Gertrude I will throw more light on this point 
than I have yet been able to do. But whatever historical 
and personal concerns I touched upon in these letters, I shall 
now enter on no more. I cannot well do so. I smile over 
much and look on it with quite different eyes than I did 
when I wrote it. But over much I would rather weep than 
smile. But I do not this either. Now I can speak neither 
weeping nor smiling. My conscience tells me the hour of my 
silence is not yet past; the wheel of my fate also is not 
yet turned. Smiling and weeping would alike be premature, 
if not with locked doors, harmful. Many of the subjects and 
views touched upon in this book may perhaps soon be 
changed. Perhaps I shall soon smile over much whereat 
now I should weep ; and perhaps I shall shortly think very 
earnestly about things which I now pass with a smile. In 
this state I have left the book almost unaltered. Time will 
explain the contrast between what is said there and my 
present opinions about the things said, and will also explain 
those which appear incomprehensible and inexplicable, if it 
is necessary. I hardly think it will be. But if it is neces 
sary beyond my grave, may it be in mild, not glaring 

YVERDUN, June 1st, 1820. 


New Year's Day, 1801. 

You say it is time that I published my ideas on the 
instruction of the people. 

Now I will do it ; and as Lavater 5 gave his views on 
Eternity to Zimmermann in a series of letters, so will I give 
you my views, or rather, make them as clear to you as I 
possibly can. 

I saw popular instruction like a bottomless swamp before 
my eyes; and waded round and round, with difficulty, in its 
mire, until at last I learned to know the sources of its waters, 
the causes of its obstructions, and the places from which 
there might be a possibility of diverting its foul waters. 

I wil] now lead you about for a while in this maze of 
error, out of which I extricated myself, after a long time, more 
by accident than by sense and skill. 

Ah ! long enough ! ever since my youth, has my heart 
moved on like a mighty stream, alone and lonely, towards my 
one sole end to stop the sources of the misery in which I 
saw the people around me sunk. 

It is more than thirty years since I put my hand to this 
work, which I am now doing. " Iselin's Ephemerides " 6 bear 
witness that my dreams and wishes, which I was then trying 
to work out, are not less comprehensive now than they were 

But I was young ; I knew neither the needs of my 

io How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

scheme, nor the attention that its preparation required, nor 
the skill that its realization called for and presupposed. My 
ideal scheme included work in the fields, the factory, and the 
workshop. I had a deep but vague feeling of the value of 
all three departments; I looked upon them as safe clear paths 
towards the realization of my plan ; and verily, I have come 
back after all the experiences of my life to nearly my early 
views on the essential foundations of my plan. Yet my 
confidence in their essential truth, founded upon the apparent 
certainty of my instinct was my ruin. 

The truths of my opinions were truths in the air ; and my 
confidence in my instinct, in the foundations of my work, 
was the confidence of a sleeper in the reality of hia dream. 
I was in all three departments, in which my experiments 
should have been made, an inexperienced child. I wanted 
facility in details, that careful, persevering and accustomed 
handling from which the blessed result, towards which I 
strove, alone could come. The consequence of this positive 
unfitness for my task was soon felt. The pecuniary means 
to my end went quickly off in smoke, all the sooner because 
I neglected to furnish myself in the beginning with a satis 
factory staff of assistants in my task. When I began to 
feel keenly the need of such persons as could properly supply 
that in which I was wanting, I had already lost the money 
and credit which would have made the organization of this 
staff possible to me. Such a confusion in my circumstances 
soon arose that the wreck of my scheme was inevitable. 

My ruin was complete ; and the fight against fate was 
the fight of underlying weakness against an enemy of ever- 
increasing strength. Struggles against disaster led to 
nothing. Meanwhile I had learnt in the immeasurable 
struggle immeasurable truth, and had gained immeasurable 
experience ; and my conviction of the truth of the principles 
of my views and efforts was never greater than at the 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 1 1 

moment when they were, to the outward eye, entirely de 
stroyed. My heart still moved on unshaken towards the 
same object, and I now found myself in misery, in a condition, 
in which I perceived on the one hand the essential needs 
of my work, and on the other the ways and means by which 
the surrounding world of all sorts and conditions, really 
thinks and acts about the object of my endeavours. So that 
I perceived and comprehended the truth of these opinions, 
as I never should have done in an apparently happy issue 
from my premature attempts. I say it now, with inward 
exaltation and gratitude towards an over-ruling Providence, 
that even in my misery I learned to know the misery of 
the people and its causes deeper and deeper, and as no 
happier man knows them. 7 I suffered as the people suffered ; 
and the people showed themselves to me as they were, and 
as they showed themselves to no one else. I sat long years 
among them, like an owl among birds. But in the midst of 
the scornful laughter, in the midst of the loudest taunts of 
the men who rejected me u You poor wretch, you are less 
able than the meanest day labourer to help yourself, and do 
you fancy you can help the people ? " In the midst of these 
jeering taunts, which I read on all lips, the mighty stream 
of my heart ceased not, alone and lonely, to struggle towards 
the purpose of my life to stop the springs of the misery in 
which I saw the people around me sunk. In one way my 
strength became ever greater. My misfortunes taught me 
always more and more truth for my purpose. That which 
deluded no one else deluded me ; but that which deluded 
every one else deluded me no more. 

I knew the people as no one about me knew them. Their 
pleasure in the prospect of profit from the newly-introduced 
cotton manufacture ; their increasing wealth, their bright 
ened houses, their abundant harvest, even the " Socratizing " 
of some of their teachers, and the reading circles among the 

12 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

uiider-bailiffs' sons and the barbers, deceived me not. I 
saw their misery ; but I lost myself in the vast prospect of 
its scattered and isolated sources ; and while my insight into 
their real condition became ever more wide, I did not move 
a step forward in the practical power of remedying the 
evil. Even the book that my sense of this condition forced 
from me, even " Leonard and Gertrude " 8 was a proof of this 
my inner helplessness. I stood there among my contempo 
raries, like a stone that tells of life, and is dead. Many 
men glanced at it, but understood as little of me and my 
aims, as I understood the details of skilled labour and know 
ledge that were necessary to accomplish them. 
( I was careless of myself, and lost myself in the whirl of 
{ powerful impulses towards outward operations of which I 
had not worked out the foundations deeply enough. 

Had I done this, to what an inner height should I have 
been able to raise myself for my purpose, and how soon 
should I have reached my end ! This I never found because 
I was unworthy, for I only sought it from without, and 
allowed my love of truth and justice to become a passion 
which tossed me about like an uprooted reed upon the waves 
of life. I myself, day by day, hindered my torn-up roots 
from fastening again into firm ground and finding that 
nourishment which they so essentially needed for my end. 
Vain was the hope that another might rescue this uprooted 
reed from the waves, and set it in the earth in which I had 
delayed to plant it. 

Dear friend ! Whoever has a drop of my blood in him 
now knows how low I had to sink; and you, my G-essner, 
before you read further, dedicate a tear to my fall. 

Deep dissatisfaction devoured me now ; things eternally 
true and right seemed to me, in my condition mere castles 
in the air. I clung with obstinacy to words and phrases 
which had lost within me their basis of eternal truth. So 

Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 13 

I sank day by day more towards the worship of common 
places and the trumpet blare of quacks, with which this 
modern age pretends to help the human race. 

Yet, it was not that I did not feel this sinking, and 
struggle against it. For three years I wrote, with incredible 
fatigue, my " Inquiries into the Course of Nature in the 
Development of Mankind," 9 particularly with the view of 
agreeing with myself as to the progress of my pet ideas, 
and of bringing my innate feelings into harmony with my 
conceptions of civil rights and of morality. But this work, 
too, is to me only an evidence of my inner helplessness, a 
mere play of my power of questioning, one-sided, without 
proportionate skill against myself, and void of sufficient 
effort towards that practical power which was so necessary 
for my purpose. The disproportion between my practice andj 
my theories only increased ; and that deficiency in myself, 
which I was bound to supply for the accomplishment of 
my purpose, became greater, and I less able to supply it. 

Besides, I did not reap more than I sowed. The effect of 
my book was like the effect of all my doings on those around 
me ; nobody understood it. I did not find two men who did 
not half give me to understand that they looked upon the 
whole book as a " gallimaufry." 10 And only lately, a man 
of importance, who rather likes me, said with " Swiss " 
familiarity : " But really, Pestalozzi, do you not feel yourself, 
that when you wrote that book, you did not exactly know 
what you wanted?" Yes, that was my fate, to be mis-) 
understood and to suffer injustice. I ought to have been 
used to it, but I was not. I met my misfortune with inward 
scorn and contempt of mankind, and thereby injured my 
cause at those inmost foundations, which it should have had 
in me. I did it more harm than all those by whom I was ^ , 
misunderstood and despised could have done it. Yet I 
swerved not from my purpose ; but it was now sensibly 

14 How Gertmde Teaches Her Children. 

atrophied, and lived on in an unsettled imagination and a 
disordered heart. I became more and more confirmed in 
the wish to nourish the sacred plant of human happiness on 
unconsecrated ground. 

Glessner ! In my " Inquiries " I lately defined the claims 
of all civil rights as mere claims of my animal nature, and, 
in so far as they are a real hindrance to the only thing 
that has any worth for human nature, looked upon them as 
hindrances to moral purity. But I now lowered myself, 
under the provocation of external force and internal passion, 
to expect a good issue from the tinkling cymbals of civil 
truth, to expect ideas of right from the men of my time, 
who, with few exceptions, live only to make themselves 
comfortable and hanker after well-spread tables. 

I was grey haired, yet still a child, but a child deeply dis 
turbed within myself. Still in all this stormy time I moved 
on towards the purpose of my life ; but my way was more 
one-sided and erring than ever. I now sought a way to my 
end generally in the discovery of all the old sources of public 
ills ; in passionate statements of civil rights and their foun 
dations ; in the employment of the spirit of violence, that 
had risen up in revolt against the individual suffering of the 
people. But the purer doctrine of my early days was only 
noise and words to the men around me : how much more 
must my present view of things be foolishness to them ! 
As usual, they steeped this kind of truth also in the mire, 
remained as they were, and behaved towards me as I ought 
to have expected, but did not expect, because I hovered 
in the air in the dream of my wishes, and no selfishness 
opened my eyes to the men about me. I was deceived, not 
only in every knave, but in every fool. I trusted every one 
who came and spoke fair words. Yet I knew the people, 
perhaps as no one else knew them and their bewilderment 
and degradation. But I cared for nothing but damming up 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 15 

these springs and stopping their mischief ; and Helvetia's new 
men (novl homines}, who did not want so little, and who knew 
not the people, of course found that I was not made for them. 
These men, who in their new place, like shipwrecked women, 
took every straw for a mast, by which the republic might be 
carried to a safe shore, despised me as a straw at which no 
cat would clutch. They knew it not and intended it not, 
but they did me good, more good than ever men had done me. 
They restored me to myself and left me (silently wondering 
at the sudden transformation of their ship's repair into ship 
wreck) nothing but the word which I spoke in the first 
days of that overthrow, " / will turn schoolmaster.''' For 
this I found confidence. I became one ; and ever since I 
have been engaged in a mighty struggle (forced upon me in 
spite of myself) to fill up those internal deficiencies by which 
niy ultimate purposes were formerly hindered. 

Friend ! I will openly reveal to you the whole of my being 
and doing since that moment. I had, during the first Direc 
tory, won confidence through Legrand in my" object, the cul 
tivation of the people, and was on the point of bringing out 
an extensive plan of education in Argau when Stanz n was 
burnt down, and Legrand at once offered me that unfortunate 
place for my residence. I went. I would have gene to the 
hindmost cavern of the mountains to come nearer my end, 
and now I really did come nearer it ; but imagine my position 
I alone deprived of all the means of education ; I alone, 
overseer, paymaster, handy man, and almost servant maid, in 
an unfinished house, surrounded by ignorance, disease, and 
novelty of all kinds. The number of children increased 
gradually to eighty, all of different ages ; some full of pre 
tensions, others wayside beggars ; all, except a few, wholly 
ignorant. What a task ! to form and develop these children ! 
What a task ! 

I dared to attempt it, and stood in their midst pronouncing 

1 6 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

sounds, 12 and making them imitate them. Whoever saw it 
was astonished at the result. It was like a meteor that is 
seen in the air, and vanishes again. No one knew its nature. 
I understood^ .it "not myself It was the result of a simple 
psychological idea which I felt, but of which I was not 
clearly aware. 

It was exactly the pulse of the art that I was seeking, I 
seized it, a monstrous grip. A seeing man would never have 
dared ; I was. luckily blind, or I too had not ventured. I 
knew not clearly what I did, but I knew what I wanted, 
that was Death, or the carrying through of my pur 

But the means of attaining it were absolutely nothing but 
the direct result of the necessity with which I had to work 
through the extreme difficulties of my situation. 

I know not and can hardly understand how I came 
through. In a manner I played with necessity, defied her 
difficulties, which stood like mountains before me. Against 
the apparent physical impossibility I opposed the force of a 
will which saw and regarded nothing but what was im 
mediately before it ; but which grappled with the difficulty 
at hand, as if it were alone, and life and death depended on 

So I worked in Stanz, until the approach of the Austrians 
took the heart out of my work, and the feelings that now 
oppressed me brought my physical powers to the state in 
which they were when I left Stanz. 13 Up to 'this point I was 
not yet certain of the foundations of my procedure. 14 But as 
I was attempting the impossible, I found that possible which 
I had not expected ; and as I pushed through the pathless 
thicket that no one had trodden for ages, I found footprints 
in it leading to the high road, which for ages had been un 

I will go a little into details. As I was obliged to give 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 17 

the children instruction, alone, and without help, I learned 
the artj)f_teaching many together ; and since I had no other 
means but loud speaking, the idea of making the learners 
draw, write, and work at the same time, was naturally de 
veloped. The confusion of the repeating crowd led me kr 
feel the need of keeping time, and beating time increased the 
impression made by the lesson. The utter ignorance of all 
made me stay long over the beginnings ; and this led me 
fto realize the high degree of inner power to be obtained by 
perfecting the first beginnings, and the result of a feeling 
of completeness and perfection in the lowest stage. I 
learned, as never before, the relation of the first steps in 
every kind of knowledge to its complete outline ; and I felt, 
as never before, the immeasurable gaps, that would bear wit 
ness in every succeeding stage of knowledge, to confusion and 
want of perfection on these points. The result of attending 
to this perfecting of the early stages far outran my expecta 
tions. It quickly developed in the children a consciousness 
of hitherto unknown power, and particularly a general sense 
of beauty and order. They felt their own power, and the 
tediousness of the ordinary school- tone vanished like a ghost 
from my rooms. They wished, tried, persevered, suc 
ceeded, and they laughed. Their tone was not that of 
learners, it was the tone of unknown powers awakened 
from sleep ; of a heart and mind exalted with the feeling of 
what these powers could and would lead them to do. 

Children taught children. They tried [to put into practice] 
what I told them to do, [and often came themselves on the 
track of the means of its execution, from many sides. This 
sjeji-activity, which had developed itself in many ways in 
the beginning of learning, worked with great force on the 
birth and growth of the conviction in me, that all true, all 
educative instruction must be drawn out of the children them- 
; selves, and be born within them]. 15 To this I was led chiefly 


1 8 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

by necessity. Since I had no fellow-helpers, I put a capable 
child between two less capable ones ; he embraced them 
with both arms, he told them what he knew, and they learned 
to repeat after him what they knew not. [They sat lovingly 
by each other. Joy and sympathy animated their souls, and 
their mutually awakened inner life led them both forward 
as they could only be led by this mutual self-vivification.] 

Dear Friend! You have heard this crowd of collective 
learners and seen its courage and joy. Say yourself how 
you felt when you saw it. I saw your tears, and in my 
heart arose wrath towards men who could still say, " The 
improvement of the people is a dream." 

No ; it is no dream. I will put skill into the hand of the 
mother, into the hand of the child, and into the hand of the 
innocent ; and the scorner shall be silenced and shall say no 
more " It is a dream." 

God, I thank Thee for my necessity ! Without it I should 
never have spoken these words, and I should not have silenced 
the scorner. 

I am now thoroughly convinced ; it was a long time before 
I was: but I had children in Stanz whose powers, not 
deadened by the weariness of unpsychological home and 
school discipline, developed more quickly. It was another 
race. Even the paupers were different from the town 
paupers and the weaklings of our corn and vine lands.. I 
saw the capacity of human nature, and its peculiarities in 
many ways and in most open play. Its defects were the 
defects of healthy nature, immeasurably different to the 
defects caused by bad and artificial teaching hopeless nag 
ging and complete crippling of the mind. 

I saw in this combination of unschooled ignorance a power 
of seeing (Anschauung} and a firm conception of the known 
and the seen of which our ABC puppets have no notion. 

I learned from them I must have been blind if I had not 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 19 

learned to know the natural relation in which real know 
ledge stands to book-knowledge. I learnt from them what 
a disadvantage this one-sided letter-knowledge and entire 
reliance on words (which are only sound and noise when 
there is nothing behind them) must be. I saw what a 
hindrance this may be to the real power of observation 
(Anschauung), and the firm conception of the objects that 
surround us. 

^ So far I got in Stanz. I felt my experiment had de 
cided that it was possible to found popular instruction on 
psychological grounds, to lay true knowledge, gained by 
sense-impression at its foundation, and to tear away the 
mask of its superficial bombast. I felt I could solve the 
problem to men of penetration and unprejudiced mind ; but 
the prejudiced crowd, like geese which, ever since they 
cracked the shell, have been shut up in the coop and shed, 
and so have lost all power of flying and swimming, I could 
never make wise, as I well knew. 

It was reserved for Burgdorf to teach me more. 1 ? 
But imagine, you know me, imagine with what feelings I 
left Stanz. As a shipwrecked man, after weary, restless nights, 
sees land at last, breathes in hope of life, and then is swung 
back into the boundless ocean by an unlucky wind, says a 
thousand times in his trembling soul, " Why can I not die ? " 
and yet does not plunge into the abyss, but still forces his 
tired eyes open, looks around, and seeks the shore again, and 
when he sees it, strains every limb to numbness. Even so 
was I. 

Gessner ! imagine all this ; think of my heart and my will, 
my work and my wreck, my disaster, the trembling of my 
shattered nerves, and my bewilderment. Such, friend, was 
my condition when I left Stanz and went to Bern. 

Fischer got me an introduction to Zehender of Gurnigel, 18 
[through whose kindness] I enjoyed some restful days at that 

2O How Genmae Teaches Her Children. 

place. I needed them. It is a wonder that I still live. But, 
it was not my haven. It was a rock in the ocean upon which 
I rested in order to swim again. I shall never forget those 
days, Zehender, as long as I live. They saved me. But I 
could not live without my work. At the very moment when 
I looked down from Grurnigel's height upon the beautiful, 
boundless valley at my feet (I had never seen so wide a view 
before), even with that view before me I thought more of 
the badly taught people than of the beauty of the scene. I 
. could not, and would not, live without my purpose. 

My departure from Stanz, although I was near death, was 
not a consequence of my free will, but it was a consequence 
of military measures which rendered the continuance of my 
plans temporarily impossible. It renewed the old nonsense 
about my uselessness and utter inability to persevere in any 
business. Even my friends said, " Yes, for five months it is 
possible for him to pose as a worker, but in the sixth * it is 
no go.' We might have known it before. He can do nothing 
thoroughly, and is at bottom no more fit for actual life than 
an old hero of romance. In this, too, he has but outlived 

They told me to my face, " It would be ridiculous to expect, 
because a man wrote something sensible in his thirtieth 
year, that he should do something reasonable in his fiftieth." 
They said aloud that the very most that could be said 
for me was : That I brooded over a beautiful dream, and 
like all brooding fools might now and then have a bright 
idea about my dream and hobby. It was obvious that no 
one listened to me. Meanwhile every one agreed in the 
opinion that things had gone wrong in Stanz, and that every 
thing always would go wrong with me. F. . . . reported 
a friendly conversation in support of this view. It happened 
in a public assembly, but I will not describe it more par 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 21 

The first said : " Do you see how ugly he is ? " 
The other : " Yes, I am sorry for the poor fool." 
The first : " And so am I ; but he cannot be helped. If ever 
he throws out a spark one moment, so that one might think 
he really is capable of something, the next moment it is again 
dark around him ; and when one comes near him, he has only 
burnt himself." 

The other : " What a pity he did not burn himself to 
death ! He cannot be helped till he is ashes." 

The first : " God knows, we must soon wish that for him." 

That was the reward of my work in Stanz ; a work that 

perhaps no mortal ever attempted on such a scale and under 

such circumstances, and of which the inner result brought 

me practically to the point at which I now stand. 

They were astonished that I came down again from Grur- 
nigel with my old will and former purpose, wishing and 
seeking for nothing but to take up the thread where I had 
dropped it, and to knot it together again in any corner, 
without regarding anything else. 

K-engger and Stapfer rejoiced. Judge Schnell advised me 
to go to Burgdorf ; and in a couple of days I was there, and 
found in Statthalter Schnell and in Doctor Grimm, 19 men who 
knew the shifting sand on whfch our old rotten schools now 
stand, and thought it not impossible that firm ground might 
yet be found under these quicksands. I am grateful to them. 
They gave attention to my purpose, and helped me with 
energy and good-will to make the path which I was seeking. 
But here, too, it was not without difficulties. Luckily they 
looked on me at first as casually as on any other schoolmaster 
who runs about seeking his bread. A few rich people greeted 
me in a friendly way ; a few parsons courteously wished me, 
[though I must say evidently without any confidence,] 
God's blessing on my undertaking ; a few prudent men believed 
that something useful might come out of it for their children. 

22 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Everybody seemed to be content enough ; to be willing to 
wait till whatever was to peep out of it showed itself. 

But the " Hintersassen " 20 schoolmaster of the brisk little 
town, to whose schoolroom I was sent, laid hold of the busi 
ness a little closer. I believe he suspected the final end of 
my A B C crowing was to cram his situation, neck and crop, 
into my sack. The rumour once spread through the neigh 
bouring street that the " Heidelberg " 21 was in danger. This 
is still the food on which the youth of the lower class of 
the townspeople is kept, as long as the most neglected 
peasantry of the villages ; and you know they are kept at it 
till their betrothal day. 

Yet the "Heidelberg" was not the only thing. Men still 
whispered in each other's ears in the streets that I could not 
even write, nor count, nor read correctly. 

Now, my friend, that street gossip is not always entirely 

X untrue ; I could neither write, count, nor read perfectly. 

But people always shut out too much of such street truths. 

You have seen it in Stanz. I could teach writing without 

, being able to write perfectly myself ; and really my igno- 

( ranee of all these things was essentially necessary, in order 

f to bring me to the highest simplicity of methods of teaching, 

and to find means whereby" the most inexperienced and 

\ ignorant man might also do the same with his children. 

Meanwhile it was not to be expected of the lower classes 
of Burgdorf that they should accept everything beforehand, 
still less that they should believe in it. They did not. They 
decided at a meeting that they did not wish experiments 
made on their children with the new teaching : the burghers 
might try on their own. But as it happened, patrons and 
friends brought all the influence that was needed there for 
that purpose. So that at last I was admitted into the lowest 
school in the upper town. 22 

I considered myself happy, yet I was in the beginning 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 23 

very shy. Every moment I feared they would turn me out 
of my schoolroom. This made me more awkward than usual; 
and when I think of the fire and the life with which in the 
first hours at Stanz I, as it were, built myself a magic 
temple, and then of the nervousness with which at Burgdorf 
I bowed myself under the yoke as a matter of business, I can 
hardly understand how the same man could do both. 

Here was school discipline, apparently reasonable, but not 
free from pedantry and pretension. All this was new to me. 
I had never borne such a thing in my life ; but now for the 
sake of my purpose I bore it. I crowed my ABC daily from 
morn till night, and I went on without plan in the empirical 
way which I had had to break off in Stanz. 13 I put unweariedly 
rows of syllables together. I wrote whole books with these 
rows, and with rows of figures. I sought in all ways to 
bring the beginnings of spelling and counting to the greatest 
simplicity and into form. So that the child with the strictest 
psychological order might pass from the first step gradually 
to the second ; and then without break, upon the foundation 
of the perfectly understood second step, might go on quickly 
and safely to the third and fourth. But instead of the 
letters that I made the children draw with their slate pencil, 
I now led them to draw angles, squares, lines, and curves. 

With this work the idea gradually developed of the possi 
bility of an "ABC of Anschauung," 23 that is now import 
ant to me ; and while working this out, the whole scheme of a 
general method of instruction in all its scope appeared, though 
still dimly, before my eyes. It was long before that was clear 
to me. To you it is still incomprehensible ; but it is certainly 
true. I [had for long months been working out all the 
beginning points of a path-breaking attempt at reducing the 
means of instruction to their elements, and] had done every 
thing to bring them to the highest simplicity. Yet I knew 
not their connection, or at least, I was not clearly conscious 

24 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

of it ; but I felt every hour that I was moving on, and moving 
steadily too. 

While I was still in boy's shoes they preached to me that 
it is a holy thing to serve from below upwards ; but I have 
learned now, that in order to work miracles one must, with 
grey hair, serve from below upwards. I shall work none, 
and am in no way born or made for that 2 * I shall neither 
reach such heights in reality nor in any way pretend to 
imitate them by tricks. [If I would, I could not. I know 
how weak my capabilities are now] ; but if men at my age, 
who have their whole head and unshattered nerves, would 
or should in a cause like mine serve from below upwards 
they would succeed. But no ; at my age such men seek, 
as is fair and right, their arm-chairs. This is not my 
condition ; 'I must still in my old days be glad that I am 
allowed to serve from below upwards. I do it willingly, but 
in my own way. In all I do and attempt I seek the high 
roads. The advantage of these is, that their straight way 
and open course destroy the charm of those crooked paths by 
which men are otherwise accustomed to reach honour and ad 
miration. If I could do fully what I try to do, I only need to 
explain it, and the simplest man could do it afterwards. But 
->n spite of my clear conviction that I shall bring it neither to 
admiration nor honour, I still regard it as the crown of my 
life ; all the more since I have served this object for long years, 
and in my old age from below upwards. The advantages of 
it strike me more every day. While I thus took in hand all 
the dusty school duties, not merely superficially, and while I 
always went on and on from eight in the morning till seven n 
in the evening, a few hours excepted, I naturally pounced 
every moment upon matters of fact that might throw light 
on the existence of physico-mechanical laws, according to 
which our minds pick up and keep outer impressions easily 
or with difficulty. I adapted my teaching daily more to 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 25 

my sense of such laws ; but I was not really aware of their 
principles, until the Executive Councillor Grlayre, to whom 
I had tried to explain the essence of my works last 
summer, said to me, " Vous voulez mechaniser 1'educa- 
tion." 25 [I understood very little French. I thought by 
these words, he meant to say I was seeking means of 
bringing education and instruction into psychologically 
ordered sequence ; and, taking the words in this sense] he 
really hit the nail on the head, and according to my view, 
put the word in my mouth, which showed me the essentials 
of my purpose and all the means thereto. Perhaps it would , 
have been long before I had found it out, because I did not 
examine myself as I went along, but surrendered myself 
wholly to vague though vivid feelings, that indeed made 
my course certain, but did not teach me to know it. I could 
not do otherwise. I have read no book for thirty years. I 
could and can read none. I had nothing more to say to 
abstract ideas. I lived solely upon convictions, that were 
the result of countless, though, for the most part, forgotten 

So, without knowing the principles on which I was 
working, I began to dwell upon the nearness with which the 
objects I explained to the children were wont to touch their 
senses, and so, as I followed out the teaching from its 
beginning to its utmost end, I tried to investigate the early 
history of the child who is to be taught, back to its very 
beginning, and was soon convinced that the first hour of\ 
its teaching is the hour of its birth. From the moment in 
which his mind can receive impressions from Nature, Kature 
teaches him. The new life itself is nothing but the just- 
awakened readiness to receive these impressions ; it is 
only the awakening of the perfect physical buds that 
now aspire with all their power and all their impulses 
towards the development of their individuality. It is only 

26 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

the awakening of the now perfect animal ; that will and 
must become a man. 

All instruction of man is then only the Art 26 of help 
ing Nature to develop in her own way ; and this Art rests 
essentially on the relation and harmony between the im-ji 
pressions received by the child and the exact degree of his| 
developed powers. It is also necessary, in the impressions' 
that are brought to the child by instruction, that there should 
be a sequence, so that beginning and progress should keep 
pace with the beginning and progress of the powers to be 
developed in the child. I soon saw that an inquiry into this 
sequence throughout the whole range of human knowledge, 
particularly those fundamental points from which the develop 
ment of the human mind originates, must be the simple and 
only way ever to attain and to keep satisfactory school and 
instruction books, of every grade, suitable for our nature and 
our wants. I saw just as soon, that in making these books, 
the constituents of instruction must be separated according to 
the degree of the growing power of the child ; and that in all 
matters of instruction, 27 it is necessary to determine, with 
the greatest accuracy, which of these constituents is fit for 
each age of the child, in order, on the one hand, not to hold 
him back if he is ready, and on the other, not to load him 
and confuse him with anything for which he is not quite 

This was clear to me. The child must be brought to a 
high degree of knowledge, both of things seen and words, 
before it is reasonable to teach him to spell or read. I was 
quite convinced, that at their earliest age, children need psy 
chological training in gaming intelligent sense-impressions of 
all things. But since such training, without the help of art, 
is not to be thought of or expected of men, as they are, the 
need of picture-books struck me perforce. These should 
precede the ABC books, in order to make those ideas, that 

How Gertrude Teaches Htr Children. 29 

men express by words, clear to the children jr 6 nec k, and 
well-chosen real objects, 28 that either in reality, c ect upon 
form of well-made models and drawings, can be broug*?* 
before their minds.] 

A happy experiment confirmed my then unripe opinion in 
a striking way, [in spite of all the limitations of my means, 
and the error and one-sidedness in my experiments]. An 
anxious mother entrusted her hardly three-year-old child 
to my private teaching. I saw him for a time, every day 
for an hour; and for a time, felt the pulse of a method 
with him. I tried to teach him by letters, figures, and 
anything handy ; that is, I aimed at giving him clear 
ideas and expressions by these means. I made him name 
correctly what he knew of anything colour, limbs, place, 
form, and number. I was obliged to put aside that first 
plague of youth, the miserable letters ; he would have 
nothing but pictures and things. He soon expressed himself 
clearly about the objects that lay within the limits of his 
knowledge. He found common illustrations in the street, 
the garden, and the room, and soon learned to pronounce the 
hardest names of plants and animals, and to compare objects 
quite unknown to him with those known, and to produce a 
clear sense-impression of them in himself. Although this 
experiment led to byeways, and worked for the strange and 
distant, to the disadvantage of the present, it threw many- 
sided light on the means of quickening the child to his sur 
roundings, and showing him the charm of self-activity in the 
extension of his powers. But yet the experiment was not 
satisfactory for that which I was particularly seeking, be 
cause the boy had already three unused years behind him. 29 
I am convinced that nature brings the children, even at this 
age, to a very definite consciousness of innumerable objects. 
It only needs that we should, with psychological art, unite 
speech with this knowledge, in order to bring it to a high 

26 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

the awakenijjtrness ; and so enable us to connect the founda- 
must beqftany-sided arts and truths to that which nature her- 
,wif teaches, and also to use what nature teaches as a means 
of explaining all the fundamentals of art and truth that can 
be connected with them. Their power and their experience 
both are great at this age ; but our unpsychological schools 
are essentially only artificial stifling-machines for destroying 
all the results of the power and experience that nature herself 
brings to life in them. 

You know it, my friend. But for a moment picture to your 
self the horror of this murder. We leave children, up to 
their fifth year, in the full enjoyment of nature ; we let every 
impression of nature work upon them ; they feel their power ; 
they already know full well the joy of unrestrained liberty 
and all its charms. The free natural bent which the sensuous 
happy wild thing takes in his development, has in them 
already taken its most decided direction. And after they 
have enjoyed this happiness of sensuous life for five whole 
years, we make all nature round them vanish from before 
their eyes; tyrannically stop the delightful course of their 
unrestrained freedom, pen them up like sheep, whole flocks 
huddled together, in stinking rooms ; pitilessly chain them for 
hours, days, weeks, months, years, to the contemplation of 
unattractive and monotonous letters (and, contrasted with 
their former condition), to a maddening course of life. 

I cease describing ; else I shall come to the picture of the 
greater number of schoolmasters, thousands of whom in our 
days, merely on account of their unfitness for any means of 
finding a respectable livelihood, have subjected themselves 
to the toilsomeness of this position, which they, in accord 
ance with their unfitness for anything better, look upon as a 
way that leads little further than to keep them from starva 
tion. How infinitely must the children suffer under these 
circumstances, or, at least, be spoiled ! 30 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 29 

Friend, tell me, can the sword that severs the neck, and 
sends the criminal from life to death, have more effect upon 
his body than this change, from the beautiful guidance of 
nature, which they have enjoyed so long, to the mean and 
miserable school course, has upon the souls of children ? 

Will men always be blind? Will they never reach 
the first springs, from which our mental distraction, the 
destruction of our innocence, the ruin of our capacities, and 
all their consequences, flow, which lead all to unsatisfactory 
lives, thousands to death in hospitals, and to madness. 

Dear Gessner, how happy shall I be in my grave, if I have 
contributed something towards making these springs known. 
How happy shall I be in my grave, if I can unite Nature and 
the Art in popular education, as closely as they are now 
violently separated. Ah! how my inmost soul is stirred 
Nature and art are not only separated, they are insanely 
forced asunder by wicked men ! 

It is as if an evil spirit had reserved for our quarter 
of the world and our century an infernal gift of malicious 
disunion, in order to make us more weak and miserable 
this philosophical age, than ever yet self-deception, pre 
sumption, and self-conceit have made mankind in any part 
of the world, in any age. 

How gladly would I forget such a world ! How happy I 
am in this state of things, by the side of my dear little 
Ludwig, whose whims force me to penetrate, ever more 
deeply, into the spirit of beginning-books for infants Yes 
my friend, in these the fittest blow against the foolish in 
struction of our time, must and shall be given. Their spirit 
grows ever clearer to me. They must start from the simplest 
elements of human knowledge, they must deeply impress the 
children with the most essential forms of all things they 
must early and clearly develop the first consciousness of the 
elations of number [and measure] in them, they must give 

3O How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

them words and sentences about the whole range of their 
knowledge and experience, and, above all, completely fill up 
the first steps of the ladder of knowledge by which nature 
herself leads us to all arts and crafts. 

^ What a gap the want of these books makes. We want 
not only what we could gain by our own skill, we want also 
what we could never gain. We want above all that spirit, 
with whose life Nature herself surrounds us, without our 
help. This spirit is wanting in us also, and we do violence 
to ourselves, while we, through our miserable popular schools 
and their monotonous letter- teaching, extinguish within us 
the last trace of the burning style with which Nature would 
brand us. 

But I return to my path. While I was thus on one side 
on the track of the first beginning-points of the practical 
means of psychologically unfolding human capacities and 
talents, which might be practicable and applicable for the 
development of children from the cradle upwards, I had on 
the other side, at the same time, to teach children who up to 
this time had been formed and brought up quite out of the 
sphere of such views and means. I naturally came while 
so doing in many ways in opposition to myself, and availed 
myself, and was forced to avail myself, of measures which 
seemed in direct opposition to my principles ; 31 especially to 
the psychological sequence of knowledge of things and lan 
guage, on the lines of which, the ideas of children should be 
developed. I could not do otherwise. I was obliged, as it 
were in the dark, to seek out the degree of capacity which I 
could not fathom in them. I set to work in every possible 
way, and found everywhere, that much further progress had 
intensively been made, even amidst the greatest rubbish, 
than seemed possible to me, considering the incompre 
hensible want of all knowledge of the Art. As far as men 
had influence I found unspeakable sleepiness; but behind 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 31 

this sleepiness Nature was not dead. I have now learned 
and can say : It is long, inconceivably long, before human 
error and unreason can wholly stifle our nature in a 
child's [mind and] heart. There is a God, who has put in 
our bosom a counterpoise to madness against ourselves. 
The life and truth of all Nature that surround us 
support this counterpoise, to the eternal pleasure of the 
Creator, who willeth not that the holiness of our nature 
should be lost in the time of our weakness and innocence, 
but that all children of men should, with certainty, advance 
to the knowledge of truth and right; until, forfeiting the 
worth of their inner nature, through themselves, by their 
own fault, and with full consciousness of it, they stray into 
the labyrinth of error and the abyss of vice. But [the 
majority of] the men [of this time] hardly know what Grod 
did for them, and allow no weight to the infinite influence of 
Nature on our development. On the contrary, they make 
a great fuss about any poor invention, crooked and stupid 
enough compared to her work, as if their skill did every 
thing, and Nature nothing for the human race; and yet 
Nature only does us good ; she alone leads us un corrupted 
and unshaken to truth and wisdom. The more I followed 
her track, the more I sought to unite my deeds to hers and 
strained my powers to keep pace with her footsteps, the 
more infinite this step appeared to me. But the power of 
children to follow her is just as infinite. I found weakness 
nowhere, except in myself, and in the art of using what is 
there. I tried to drive where no driving was possible ; 
where it was only possible to invite into a vehicle, which had 
its own power of going in itself ; [or rather, I tried to force , 
in, where it is only possible to bring out from within the 
child, that which lies in him, and is only to be stimulated 
within him, and cannot be put in him]. I now considered 
three times before I thought of anything: "The children 


32 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

cannot do it" and ten times before I said: " It is impossi 
ble for them." They did what seemed to me impossible 
at their age. I let children of three years old spell the 
wildest nonsense merely because it was nonsensically hard. 32 
V Friend., you have heard children under four spell out the 
longest and hardest sentences. Would you have believed 
it possible if you had not seen it ? Even so I taught them 
to read whole geographical sheets that were written in 
extremely abbreviated forms, and the least known words 
indicated only by a couple of letters, at an age when they 
could hardly spell the printed words. You have seen the 
perfect accuracy with which they read these sheets, and 
the unconstrained ease, with which they could learn them 
by heart. 

I even tried to make gradually clear to a few older 
children complicated and, to them, wholly incomprehensible 
propositions in natural science. They learned the proposi 
tions thoroughly by heart, by reading and repetition, and 
also the questions explaining these propositions. It was 
at first, like all catechisms, a mere parrot-like repetition of 
dull uncomprehended words. But the sharp separation of 
single ideas, the definite arrangement in this separation, and 
the consciousness deeply and indelibly impressed of these 
dull words, glowing in the midst of their dulness with a 
gleam of light and elucidation, brought them gradually to a 
feeling of truth and insight into the subject lying before 
them, that bit by bit cleared itself like sunlight from 
densest mist. 

By these tentative and erring measures, blending their 
course with the clearest views of my purpose, these first 
trials gradually developed in me clear principles about my 
actions ; and while every day it became clearer to me that in 
the youngest years we must not reason wdth children, but 
must limit ourselves to the means of developing their minds, 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 33 

1. By ever widening more and -more the sphere of their 

2. By firmly, and without confusion, impressing upon 
them those sense-impressions that have been brought 
to their consciousness. 

3. By giving them sufficient knowledge of language for 
all that Nature and the Art have brought or may, in 
part, bring to their consciousness. 

While, as I say, these three points of view became clearer" 
to me every day, just as firm a conviction gradually de 
veloped within me : 

1. Of the need of picture books for early childhood. 

2. Of the necessity of a sure and definite means of 
explaining these books. 

3. Of the need of a guide to names, and knowledge 
of words founded upon these books and their ex 
planations, with which the children should be 
thoroughly familiar before the time of spellings , 

The advantage of a fluent and early nomenclature is in- v 
valuable to children. The firm impression of names makes 
the things unforgetable, as soon as they are brought to 
their knowledge ; and the stringing together of names in an 
order based upon reality and truth, develops and maintains 
in them, a consciousness of the real relation of things to 
each other. The advantages of this are progressive, only 
we must never think, because a child does not understand 
anything fully, that therefore it is of no use to him. 
Certain it is that when, with and by A, B, C, learning, he 
has himself made the sound and tone of the greater part of 
a scientific nomenclature his own, he enjoys through it at 
least the advantage that a child enjoys who in his home, a 
great house of business, daily becomes acquainted from his 
cradle upwards with the names of countless objects. 

The philanthropic Fischer, 33 who had a similar purpc e to 


34 How Gertrude Teaches He* Children. 

mine, saw my course from the beginning, and said it was 
wrong, so far was it removed from his own manner and 
views. The letter that he wrote about my experiments to 
Steinmtiller 34 is remarkable for the view he takes of this 
subject at this time. I will add it here with a few obser 

" In judging Pestalozzi's pedagogic undertaking, every 
thing depends on our knowing the psychological basis on 
which his structure rests. This may prove secure even 
though the outside of the building presents some ruggedness 
and disproportion. Many of these deficiencies are explained 
by the empirical psychological course of the author and by 
his external circumstances, accidents, trials, and experiments. 
It is almost incredible how indefatigably he makes experi 
ments and since he philosophizes more after these experi 
ments than before a few leading ideas excepted he 'must 
certainly multiply them / but the results gain in certainty. 
To bring these last into common life, that is, to adapt them 
to the preconceived ideas, the circumstances and claims of 
men, he needs liberal and sympathetic helpers to assist him 
to make the forms, or else a very long time to discover them 
gradually by himself, and through them as it were to give a 
body to the spirit that animates him. The principles on which 
his method rests, are the following." 

(These five special points of view, which he calls the 
principles of my method, are only isolated views of my 
attempts for my purpose. As principles they are subordi 
nate to the fundamental views which produced them in me. 

But here the first view of the purpose with which I 
started is wanting; that is to say, I wish to remedy the 
deficiencies of common school instruction, particularly in 
lower schools, and to seek forms of instruction that have 
not these deficiencies.) 

1. "-He wishes to raise the capacity of the mind inten- 

Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 35 

sively, and not merely to enrich it extensively ivith con 

" He hopes to attain this in many ways. While he recites 
words, explanations, phrases, and long sentences loudly.and 
often to the children, and lets them repeat them, he wishes 
thereby (according to the distinct individual aim that each 
step has) to form their organs and to exercise their observa 
tion and thought. For the same reason, he allows them, 
during the repetition exercise, to draw on their slates freely, 
or to draw letters with coloured chalk." 

(I allowed them even then to draw, especially lines, angles, 
and curves, and to learn their definitions by heart. ! pro 
ceeded in the measures that I had tried in teaching to write, 
from the principle founded upon experience ; that the chil 
dren are ready at an earlier age for knowledge of proportion 
and the guidance of the slate pencil, than for guiding the 
pen, and making tiny letters.) 

" For this purpose he deals out thin little leaves of trans 
parent horn to his scholars ; upon these little tablets are 
engraved strokes and letters, and the pupils use them as 
models, so much the more easily, since they can lay them 
upon the figures they have drawn, and the transparency 
enables them to make the necessary comparison. A double 
occupation at the same time, is a preparation for a thousand 
incidents and works in life, in which observation must share, 
without dissipating itself. Industrial schools, for example, 
are founded entirely upon this readiness." 

(I had in my experiments of thirty years ago found the 
most decisive results. I had already at that time brought 
3hildren to a readiness of reckoning while spinning, that I 
myself could not follow without paper. All depends, how 
ever, on the psychology of the form of teaching. The child 
must have the handicraft, which he carries on with his learn 
ing, perfectly in his power; and the task which he thus 

36 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

learns with the work must in every case be only an easy 
addition to that which he can do already.) 

2. " He makes Ms teaching depend entirely on language" 
(This should be exactly, He holds, after the real sense- 
impression of Nature, language to be the first means of 
gaming knowledge of our race. I arrived at this from the 
principle, that the child must learn to talk before he can be 
reasonably taught to read. But I connected the art of teach 
ing children to talk with the intuitive ideas given to them 
by nature, and with those given to them by art.) 

"In language the results of all human progress are re 
corded. It is only necessary therefore to follow its course 
psychologically . ' ' 

"~ (The clue to this psychological pursuit must be sought in 
the very nature of the development of language itself. The 
savage first names his object, then draivs it, then combines 
it very simply, after learning its qualities, variable accord 
ing to time and circumstance, with words, by terminations 
and combinations, in order to distinguish it more nearly. I 
will further unfold this view, and by so doing I will try to 
satisfy Fischer's demand for a psychological investigation 
of the course of language, under the title of Language.} 

" He will not reason with the children until he has fur 
nished them with a stock of words and expressions, which 
they bring to their places, and learn to compose and decom 
pose. Thereby he enriches their thought with simple ex 
planations of objects of sense, and so teaches the child to 
describe what surrounds him, to give an account of his ideas, 
and so master them, since he now, for the first time, becomes 
clearly conscious of those already existing in him. 

(My opinion on this point is : In order to make children 
reasonable, and put them in the way of a power of indepen 
dent thought, we must guard, as much as possible, against 
allowing them to speak at haphazard, or to pronounce opinions 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 3 ( /> 

about things that they only know superficially. I believe 
the time for learning is not the time for judgment ; the time 
for judgment comes with the completion of learning ; it 
comes with the ripening of reason, for the sake of which we 
judge and should judge. I believe every judgment that is 
supposed to have inner truth for the individual who expresses 
it, for this reason, must of itself, out of a comprehensive 
knowledge, fall ripe and perfect, as the perfectly ripened 
grain falls, unforced and free, from the husk or shell.) 

" Mechanical readiness, and a certain tact in speaking, he 
produces by doing exercises in inflections before them." 

(These inflections were limited to descriptions of well- 
known objects.) 

"Their mental freedom gains exceedingly by this, and 
when they have learned, and learned to use certain forms of 
description by 'many examples, they will, in future, redi/ce 
thousands of objects to the same formula, and impress upon 
their definitions and descriptions the stamp of clear vision." > 

(I am now trying to find in number, measurement, and 
language, the primary and universal foundations for this 

3. "He seeks to provide all operations of the mind icith 
cither data, or headings, or leading ideas" 

(That is, he seeks the fundamental points in the whole 
compass of art and nature, the kinds of sense-impressions, 
the realities, which can be used, through their distinctness 
and their universality, as fruitful means for making know 
ledge and judgment easy upon many objects subordinate to 
and connected with them. So he gives the children data 
that will make them observe similar objects ; he gives head 
ings to sequences of analogous ideas, by defining which he 
separates for them the whole sequence of objects, and makes 
their essential characteristics clear to them.) 

" The data, however disjointed they be when given, depend 

3 3 How Gertrude TeacJies Her Children. 

one upon the other. There are ideas, one suggesting the 
other, which for that very reason inspire the desire for 
inquiry through the mental necessity of completion and 
facility in putting together separate objects." 

The headings lead to the classification of the ideas to be 
upgathered ; they bring order into the chaotic mass, and the 
set-up framework causes the child to fill up the separate 
shelves assiduously. That is the value of headings of Geo 
graphy, Natural History, Technology, etc. Above this comes 
the analogy which rules in the choice of subjects for thought. 
The leading ideas lie in certain problems, which in them 
selves are or may be the subject of whole sciences. 

When these problems, analysed to their elements, are in 
telligibly put before the child, connected with data which 
he already has or can easily find, and are used as exercises 
for the observing powers, the child's mind will be led to 
work incessantly at their solution. The simple question, 
" What can man use as clothing out of the three kingdoms 
of nature ? " is an example of this process. The child will 
examine and prove much from this point of view, from which 
he anticipates he can contribute to the solution of a technical 
problem. In this way he builds up his knowledge. Truly 
the materials must in every case be given him. To the 
leading ideas belong also propositions which at first can be 
trusted to the memory only as practical maxims, but gradu 
ally receive force, application, and signification, and become 
more deeply impressed and confirmed. 

4. " He wishes to simplify the mechanism of teaching 
and learning* 

* It is indisputable that the human mind is not equally suscept 
ible to impressions aimed at in education in every form in which 
they may be presented. The art of finding out the methods that most 
readily stimulate this susceptibility is the mechanism of teaching, 
which every teacher should seek out in free nature, and should learn 
from her on behalf of his art. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 39 

" Whatever he picks up from his text-books, and wishes to 
teach the children, should be so simple that every mother, / 
and later every teacher, even with the least capacity for 
instruction, can grasp, repeat, explain, and connect together. 
He particularly wishes mothers to make the earliest educa-' 
tion of their children pleasant and important by easy instruc 
tion in speech and reading, and so, as he expresses it, gradually 
to cancel the need of elementary schools, and to supplement 
them by an improved home education. He wishes in this 
way to prepare experiments with mothers as soon as his 
text-books are printed ; and it is to be hoped that the Govern 
ment will help by little premiums." 

(I know the difficulties of this question. People all cry 
that mothers will not be persuaded to undertake a new work 
in addition to their scrubbing and rubbing, their knitting 
and sewing, and all their [tiresome duties, and the distrac 
tions of their life] ; and I may answer as I like : " It is no 
work ; it is play ; it takes no time, rather it fills up the 
emptiness of a thousand moments of depression." People 
have no mind for it, and answer back, " They won't do it." 
But Pope Boniface, in the year 1519, said to the good 
Zwingli, " It won't do ; mothers will through all eternity 
never read the Bible with their children, never through all 
eternity pray daily with them morning and evening," yet 
he found in the year 1522 that they did it, and said, " I 
never should have believed it. 11 I am sure of my means [and 
I know and hope, at leastj before I am buried], 35 that a new 
Pope Boniface will speak of this matter as the old one in 
1522. I may indeed wait ; it will come to the Pope.) 

The fifth principle is connected with this, " He would make 
knoivledge popular." 

(That is, he aims in all cases at that degree of insight and 
power of thought that all men need for an independent and 
wise life. Not indeed to make the sciences as such, the 

4O How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

fallacious plaything of bread-needing poverty ; but on the 
contrary, to free bread-needing poverty by the first princi 
ples of truth and wisdom, from the danger of being the 
unhappy toy of its own ignorance, as well as of the cunning 
of others.) 

" This is to be gained through the stock of text-books,, 
which already contain the principal elements of knowledge 
in well-chosen words and propositions, and, as it were, furnish 
the unhewn stones which later shall be easily combined to 
form the arch." 

(I should rather have expressed myself in this way : " This 
should be especially aimed at through the simplification of the 
first steps of human instruction, and the uninterrupted progress 
to all that enriches the individual knowledge of every man. 
The text-books themselves should only be a skilful combina 
tion of instruction in all "branches with that which Nature 
herself does for the development of men, under all circum 
stances and conditions. They should be nothing but a skil 
ful preparation of the power that man needs, for the safe 
use of that which nature does, in all ways, for his develop 

" This shall reach further through the division and cheap 
sale of the text-books. Short and intelligible, they shall be 
issued in a series, and supplement each other, and yet be 
able to stand alone, and be dispersed in single numbers. For 
the same end he would multiply maps, geometrical figures, 
etc., by woodcuts, at the very lowest prices. He dedicates 
the profit of these works, after deducting the cost, to the 
improvement of his method, viz. to practically use it in an 
established school, institute, or orphan's home." 

(This is too much to say. I am not able to offer to the 
public the whole profit, merely deducting the cost of print 
ing, of works that are the result of my whole life, and of 
pecuniary sacrifices that I made with this in view. But 

Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 41 

notwithstanding all the manifold sacrifices, that I have 
already made for the sake of my aim, yet, if the Government, 
or an individual, will make it possible for me to carry on an 
orphan's home according to my principles, I will sacrifice my 
time and all my powers, with the greater part of the profit of 
my school books, till I die, for this end.) 

" The gain for school instruction, is that the teacher with 
a certain minimum of skill, not only does no harm, but is 
able to make suitable progress." 

(This is essential. I believe it is not possible for common 
popular instruction to advance a step, so long as formulas of 
instruction are not found which make the teacher, at least 
in the elementary stages of knowledge, merely the mechanical 
tool of a method, the result of which springs from the nature 
of the formulas and not from the skill of the man who uses 
^ it. I assert definitely, that a school-book is only good when an 
uninstructed schoolmaster can use it at need, [almost as well 
as an instructed and talented one.] It must essentially be 
so arranged that uninstructed men, and even mothers, may 
find in its clues sufficient help to bring them always one 
step nearer than the child, to that progressive development of 
skill to which they are leading him. More is not wanted ; 
and more, at least for centuries, the mass of schoolmasters 
could not give. But we build castles in the air, and are 
proud of ideas of reason and independence which exist only 
on paper, and are more wanting in schoolrooms than even in 
tailors' and weavers' rooms. For there is no other profession 
that relies so entirely on mere words, and if we consider how 
very long we have been relying on these, then the connection 
of this error with the cause from which it arises startles us.) 

More could be gained in the following way. If many 
children are taught together, the emulation aroused and the 
reciprocal imparting to one another of what has been gained 
becomes more easy among the children themselves, and 

42 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

the hitherto roundabout ways of enriching the memory may 
be avoided or shortened by other arts, e.g. by analogy of 
subjects, discipline, increased attention, loud repetition, and 
other exercises." 

So far Fischer. His whole letter shows the noble man 
who honours truth even in a nightgown, and when she seems 
to be surrounded by real shadows. He was transported by 
the sight of my children in Stanz, and since the impression 
that this sight made upon him, has given sincere attention 
to all my doings. 

But he died, before my experiments had reached a ripe 
ness in which he could see more than he really saw in them. 
With his death a new epoch began for me. 


Friend, I soon wearied in Burghof as in Stanz. If you 
know you can never lift a stone without help, do not go on try 
ing for a quarter of an hour without this help. I did incom 
parably more than I was obliged, and they believed I was 
obliged to do more than I did. My breast was so torn from 
morning to night with school aifairs, that I was again in 
danger of the worst. 

I was in this condition when Fischer's death brought me 
into contact with the schoolmaster Kriisi, through whom I 
learnt to know Tobler and Buss, 1 who a few weeks later 
joined me. Their union with me saved my life and preserved 
my undertaking from an untimely death, before it was well 
alive. Meanwhile the latter danger was so great that there 
was nothing left for me to do but to risk everything, not 
only financially, but, I might almost say morally. I was 
driven to the point at which I despaired of the fulfilment of 
a dream to which my life had been devoted. This produced 
a state of mind and mode of acting that almost bore the 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 43 

stamp of madness on them ; while, owing to the force of cir 
cumstances and the continuous duration of my misfortunes 
and undeserved sufferings, that disturbed the centre of my 
efforts, I sank down into the depths of inward confusion, 
just at the moment in which I apparently began really to 
approach my aim. 

The help that I received from these men in the whole 

cope of my purpose, restored me financially and morally to 

The impression that my condition as well as my 

work made upon them, and the consequences of their union 

with me, are so important in relation to my method, and 

hrow so much light on the spirit of its psychological basis, 

that I cannot pass over the whole course of their union 

with me in silence. 

Kriisi, whom I first learnt to know, spent his youth in 
Carious occupations, through which he had learned much 
1 varied manual skill, which in the lower ranks so often 
levelop the basis of the higher mental culture, and raise men, 
who have enjoyed it from childhood, to general and com 
prehensive usefulness. 

When only in his twelfth or thirteenth year, his father, 
had a little business, used to send him several miles 
six or eight dollars to buy goods; to this he added some 
usages and commissions. Afterwards he undertook weav 
ing and day-labourer's work. In his eighteenth year he 
was employed, without any preparation, in school work in 
native place, Gaiss. At that time, as lie now says, he 
i not know even the names of the first grammatical dis 
tinctions. Anything more was not to be thought of, since 
( never had any instruction, except at an ordinary Swiss 
illage school, which was limited to reading, writing copies, 
and learning the catechism by rote, etc. But he liked the 
ntercourse with children, and he hoped that this post might 
e a means of gaining culture and knowledge, the want of 

44 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

which he felt keenly as a messenger. For since they dis 
tilled there, he was soon commissioned to buy prepared 
things, sal ammoniac, borax, and a hundred other things, the 
names of which he had never heard in his life, while at the 
same time he dared not forget the most insignificant com 
mission, and was answerable for every farthing. It was 
borne in upon him how advantageous it must be for every 
child to be brought forward in reading, writing, counting, 
and all mental exercises, even in learning to speak, as far as 
he now felt he wished to have been brought for the sake of 
his poor calling. 

In the first few weeks he had already a hundred pupils. 
But the task of occupying all these children properly, teaching 
them and keeping them in order, was beyond his power. He 
knew no art of school-keeping, except setting tasks of spel 
ling, reading, and learning by heart ; repeating lessons by 
turns, warning, and chastising with the rod when the tasks 
were not learnt. But he knew from his own youthful 
experience, that under this method of school-keeping the 
majority of children sit idle for the greater part of school 
time, and even fall into all kinds of foolish and naughty 
ways ; that in this way the precious time for culture passes 
useless away, and the advantages of learning are not 
balanced by the harmful consequences that such a school- 
keeping must necessarily have. 

Pastor Schiess, who worked energetically against the old 
slow course of instruction, helped him to keep school for the 
first eight weeks. They immediately divided the children 
into three classes. These divisions, and the use of new read 
ing books that were shortly afterwards introduced into the 
school, made it possible to exercise several children together 
in spelling and reading, and thus to occupy all, more than 
had been possible before. 

He also lent him books necessary for his own culture, and 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 45 

a good copy-book, which he copied a hundred times in order 
to form his handwriting ; and he was soon in a position to 
satisfy the highest demands of the parents. But this did 
not satisfy him. He wished not only to teach his scholars to 
read and write, but also to train their understanding. 

The new reading book [that the pastor introduced into his 
parish] contained religious instruction in proverbs and Bible 
stories ; passages of nature-teaching and natural history, 
geography, politics, and so on. At every reading lesson, 
Kriisi saw that his pastor asked the children questions on 
every paragraph, to see if they understood what they had 
read. Kriisi tried to do likewise, and made most of his 
scholars perfectly conversant with the contents of the read 
ing books. But he only succeeded in doing this, because, 
like the good Hubner, 2 he fitted his questions to the 
answers already standing in the books ; and asked for 
and expected no answers, except exactly those which stood 
in the book, before the questions that should have preceded 
them were discovered. He was especially successful, be-, 
cause he did not introduce into this catechism any kind 
of real exercise for the understanding whatsoever. We 
must here notice that the original method of instruction 
that we call catechizing, was far from being a real exer 
cise of the intellect. It was a simple verbal analysis of 
confused sentences lying before the child, and has this merit^ 
in so far as it is a preparatory exercise for the gradual clear 
ing up of ideas, that it presents separate words and sentences 
clearly, one by one, to the sense-impression of the child. 
" Socratizing " is now for the first time blended with this 
catechizing; which was originally confined to religious 

The pastor put Kriisi's thus catechized children as an 
example before his older pupils. But afterwards Krtisi, 
[according to the fashion of the time] tried to combine the 

46 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

[limited verbal analysis that we call] catechizing, with Socra- 
tizing. This latter implies a higher treatment of the subject ; 
but the combination, by its very nature, leads no further 
than the squaring of the circle, that a wood cutter with 
the axe in his hand tries upon a wooden board; it will not 
do. 3 The uncultured superficial man cannot fathom the 
depths out of which Socrates drew spirit and truth ; there 
fore it is natural that it should not succeed. He wanted 
a foundation for his questions, and the children needed a 
background for their answers. Further, they had no language 
for that which they knew, and no books that could put a 
definite answer in their mouths for questions understood, 
or not understood. 

Meanwhile, Kriisi did not feel clearly yet the difference 
between these similar methods. He knew not yet that cate 
chism proper, and particularly the catechism about abstract 
ideas, excepting the advantage of separating words and 
subjects into analytical forms, is nothing in itself but a 
parrot-like repetition of unintelligible sounds. Socratizing 
is essentially impossible for children, since they want both a 
background of preliminary knowledge and the outward means 
of expression language. He was unjust to himself about 
this failure ; he believed the cause of failure lay entirely in 
himself, and thought any good schoolmaster would be able 
to draw right and clear answers from children by questions, 
about all sorts of religious and moral ideas. 

He had fallen upon the fashionable period of Socratizing, 
or rather upon an epoch in which this sublime art was 
[generally absorbed by an inferior art, and] spoiled and de 
graded by a combination of monkish and teachers' formulas 
of catechism. At that period they dreamt of drawing out 
the intellect in this way, and out of veritable nothing to call 
forth wonders ; but I think they are now waking from that 

Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 47 

Kriisi, however, was still fast asleep ; he was locked in 
it, else I should wonder if even the Appenzeller had not 
observed, when half awake, that the hawk and the eagle 
could take no eggs from the nest if none had been laid. He 
was determined to learn an art that seemed so essential to his 
calling. And as he found in the departure of the emigrating 
Appenzellers an opportunity of coming to Fischer, his hopes 
were renewed on this subject. Fischer did everything to 
make him a cultivated teacher, according to his views. But 
in my opinion, he has let the attempt to raise him into the 
clouds of a superficial art of catechizing, take precedence of 
the work, that should make the foundations of things, about 
which he should catechize, clearer to him. 

Kriisi honours his memory, and speaks only with affection 
and gratitude of his benefactor and friend. But love of 
truth, which bound me also to Fischer's heart, demands that 
I leave no view and no circumstance of this subject in doubt, 
that, more or less contributed to develop views and opinions 
in me and my helpers, that now unite us on this subject. 
Therefore I cannot conceal that, while Kriisi admired the 
ease with which Fischer held a great number of questions in 
readiness about a crowd of subjects, and hoped with time 
and industry to gather together a sufficient number of ques 
tions for the elucidation of all the principal subjects of human 
knowledge, 4 he could ever less and less conceal it from himself, 
that if a teachers' seminary be a thing that must raise every 
village schoolmaster to this height in the art of questioning, 
such a seminary might still be a doubtful advantage. 

The more he worked with Fischer, the greater seemed the 
mountain that stood before him, and the less he felt in 
himself the power that he saw was necessary to climb its 
summit. Since, however, he heard me talk with Fischer of 
education and the culture of the people, on the first days of 
his visit, and heard me distinctly declare against the Socra- 

48 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

tizing of our candidates, with the expression, that I was 
wholly against making the judgment of children *upon any 
subject, apparently ripe before the time, but rather would 
hold it back as long as possible, until they really had seen 
with their own eyes, the object on which they should express 
themselves, from all sides, and under several conditions, and 
had become quite familiar with words, by which they could 
describe its essential characteristics. Kriisi felt that he 
decidedly wanted this himself, and that he needed just this 
training that I intended to give my children. 

While Fischer, on his side, did everything to lead him 
into several departments of knowledge, in order to prepare 
him for giving instruction, Kriisi felt daily more and more 
that his way was not among books, so long as he was wanting 
in the fundamental knowledge of things and of words, which 
these books presupposed more or less. Fortunately he became 
more confirmed in this self-knowledge, by seeing before his 
eyes, the effect produced on the children by being taken back 
to the beginning points of human knowledge, and by my 
patient dwelling upon these points. This changed his whole 
view of instruction, and all the fundamental ideas he had 
formed thereon. He now saw that in all that I did, I tried 
more to develop the inner capacity of the child, than to 
produce isolated results by my actions; and he was convinced, 
through the effect of this principle in the whole range of my 
method of development, that in this way the foundations of 
intelligence and further progress were laid in the children 
as could never be attained in any other way. 

Meanwhile Fischer's plan of founding a schoolmaster's 
seminary was hindered. He was elected again into the 
Bureau of Ministers of Education. He promised himself to 
wait for better times for his seminary, and meanwhile to 
direct the schools in Burgdorf even in his absence. They 
should be remodelled, and they needed it ; but, owing to his 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 49 

absence and the diverting of all his time and strength, he 
had not even been able to begin; and certainly would not 
have been able in his absence, and in the midst of varied 
occupations, to set it working. Kriisi's condition was 
aggravated by Fischer's absence. He felt less and less 
capable of what Fischer expected of him, without his personal 
presence and sympathy. Soon after Fischer's departure, he 
expressed to him, and to me, his wish to join himself and his 
children to my school. But though I sorely needed help, I 
rejected it then, because I would not annoy Fischer, who 
showed continual zeal for his seminary, and who depended 
upon Kriisi. But he was ill soon after, and Kriisi told him 
of the need of this union, in the last hours that he spoke with 
him. An affectionate nod of the head was the dying man's 
answer. His memory will be always dear to me. He worked 
towards a like purpose to mine, energetically and nobly. 
Had he lived and been able to wait for the ripening of my 
experiment, we should certainly have entirely agreed. 

After Fischer's death I myself proposed to join Krusi's 
school to mine, and we now both saw our work much light 
ened ; but the difficulties of my plan much increased. I 
had already, from Burgdorf, children unequal in age, culti 
vation and manners. The arrival of children from the little 
cantons increased the difficulties, for beside similar in 
equalities, they brought into my schoolroom a natural in 
dependence of thought, feeling, and speech, that, combined 
with insinuations against my method, and the want of a firm 
organization in my teaching, which might still be looked on as 
a mere experiment, made every day more depressing. In my 
condition I needed free play for my experiments, and yet at 
every moment, private people sent particular orders as to 
how I should set to work to teach the children who were 
sent to me. In one place, where they had been accustomed 
for ages, to be content with very little in the way of in- 


5O How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

struction and teaching, they now demanded from me, that a 
method of teaching, embracing all the elements of human 
knowledge, and one that was compiled for the early use of 
little children, should also have a great, universal, and abso 
lute effect upon children, who up to their twelfth or four 
teenth year, had remained in the most thoughtless mountain 
freedom, and had therefore become distrustful of all teach 
ing. It was certainly not such a method ; and they said, 
as it had not this effect, it was no use. They confused it 
with an ordinary modification of the method of teaching A, B, 
C, and writing. My aim of seeking firm and sure foundations 
in all branches of human art and human knowledge ; my 
efforts to strengthen the capacities of children simply and 
generally for every art ; and my calm and apparently indif 
ferent way of waiting for the results of principles that should 
gradually develop out of themselves these were castles in 
the air. They anticipated nothing from, and saw nothing 
in them ; on the contrary, where I built up capacity, they 
found emptiness. They said : " The children do not learn 
to read," just because I taught them reading properly ; they 
said : " They are not learning to write," because I taught 
writing properly, and at last : " They do not learn to be good," 
just because I did all I could, to remove out of the way the 
first hindrances to goodness, that were in the school, and 
especially opposed the idea, that the parrot-like learning by 
heart of the u Heidelberg," can be the only method of teaching, 
by which the Saviour of the world sought to raise the human 
race to reverence God and to worship Him in Spirit and in 
Truth. It is true, I have said fearlessly, God is not a God 
to whom stupidity and error, hypocrisy and lip-service are 
pleasing. 5 I have said fearlessly : Take care to teach children 
to think, feel, and act rightly, to quicken and make use of 
the blessings of faith and love in themselves, before we drill 
the subjects of positive theology and their never-ending 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 5 I 

controversies into their memories, as a means of cultivating 
their intellect, and a spiritual exercise. This cannot be 
opposed to Grod and religion. But I cannot be offended at 
being misunderstood ; they meant well ; and I perfectly com 
prehend that, owing to the quackery of our educational 
methods, my rough attempts at a new way must disappoint 
people, who, like many others, would rather see one fish in 
their pond, than a lake full of carp the other side of the 

Meantime I took my own way, and Kriisi stood more and 
more firmly by me. 

The principal points of which he was quickly convinced, 
[not however as ripe educational truths, but only as pre 
liminary views that gradually unfolded themselves as clearly 
developed principles of education,] are especially these: 

1. That through a well-arranged nomenclature, indelibly 
impressed, a general foundation for all kinds of know 
ledge can be laid, by which children and teacher, 
together, as well as separately, may rise gradually, 
but with safe steps, to clear ideas in all branches of 

2. That by exercises in lines, angles, and curves, which 
I began to use at this time, a readiness in gaining 
sense-impressions of all things is produced in the 
children, as well as skill of hand, of which the 
effect will be to make everything, that comes within 
the sphere of their observation, gradually clear and 

3. That by exercising children beginning to count, with 
real objects, or at least with dots representing them, 
we lay the foundations of the whole of the science 
of arithmetic, and secure their future progress from 
error and confusion. 

4. The descriptions that the children learnt by heart of 

52 Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

going, seeing, standing, lying, etc., showed him the 
connection of the first principles, with the end that I 
was aiming at through them, the gradual clearing up 
of all ideas. He soon felt, that while we make children 
describe things that are so plain to them that no 
experiment can make them clearer, they are checked 
in the presumption of wishing to describe that which 
they do not know, and gain the power of describing 
what they do know, and what comes within the sphere 
of their observation, with brevity, clearness, and under 

5. A few words that I spoke about the influence of my 
methods in counteracting prejudice, made the deepest 
impression upon him. I said : Truth that springs 
from sense-impression may make tiresome talk and 
tedious ^arguments superfluous (these have almost 
as much effect against error and prejudice as bell- 
ringing against a storm), because^ truth SJ5 -acquired 
generates a power in the man that makes his soul 
proof against prejudice and error ; and even when 
through the continual chatter of our race they come 
to his ears, they become so isolated in him, that 
they cannot have the same effect, as upon the common 
place men of our time, on whom truth and error 
alike, without sense-impression, with mere cabalistic 
words, are thrown, as through a magic lantern, upon 
the imagination. 

These expressions convinced him that it might be 
possible to do more against error and prejudice by 
the still silence of my method, than has yet been done 
through the endless talk that we have permitted 
against it, or rather have been guilty of. 

6. The plant-collecting that we pursued last summer, 
and the conversations to which it gave rise, particularly 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 53 

developed in him the Conviction that the whole circle 
of knowledge generated through our senses rests upon 
attention to Nature and on industry in collecting and 
holding firm everything that she brings to our con 

All these views, joined with his growing need of bringing 
all means and subjects of instruction into harmony with 
each other, convinced him of the possibilityof^founding a 
method of instruction in which the el^meStfTofall action and 

knowledge should be so united^ that a teacher need only 
learn Jiow to use them, in order, by their help, to raise him 
self and the children to any standard that can be aimed at 
by teaching. 6 By this plan, not erudition, but only healthy 
human understanding and practice in the method was 
wanted, to lay solid foundations of all knowledge in the 
children, and to raise a satisfactory inner self-activity in 
both parents and teachers, by simply using these means of 
gaining knowledge. 

As has been said, he was six years village-schoolmaster, 
over a very large number of children of all ages ; but with 
all the pains he took, he had never so developed the capacities 
of children, and had never seen the firmness, security, com 
prehension and freedom reached, to which we had risen. 

He sought the causes, and found many. 

He saw firstly, that the principle of beginning with the 
easiest and making this complete before going further, then 
gradually adding, little by little, to that already perfectly 
learnt, does not actually, in the first moments of learning, 
produce a feeling and a self-consciousness of power, but 
it keeps alive in the children, this high witness of their un- 
weakened natural power. 

"We must JL -Said-he,.- --aever drive fcha childrefiy-but only 
lead them by this method." Before, when he began to teach, 
he used to say : " Consider that. Do you not remember ? " 

54 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

It was inevitable for instance, when he asked, in arith 
metic, How many times is seven contained in sixty-three ? 
The child had no real background for his answer, and must, 
with great trouble, dig it out of his memory. Now, by the 
plan of putting nine times seven objects before his eyes, and 
letting him count them as nine sevens standing together, 
he has not to think any more about this question ; he knows 
from what he has already learnt, although he is asked for 
the first time, that seven is contained nine times in sixty- 
three. So is it in other departments of the method. 

For example. If he wanted them to write nouns with 
capital letters, they always forgot the rule ; but when he 
took a few pages of the methodical dictionary as a simple 
exercise in reading with them, they began of their own ac 
cord to set down these sequences of nouns that were known 
to them alphabetically. This experiment presupposed an in 
telligent consciousness of the difference between these kinds 
of words and others. It is perfectly true that the method 
is incomplete [for the child] on any point where it needs in 
any way a spur to the thought ; it is incomplete wherever a 
distinct exercise does not come by itself, and without a strain, 
from that which the child already knows. 

He remarked further, that, lite words and pictures that I 
laid before the children singly at the reading lesson, had 
quite a different effect upon the mind than the collective 
phrases that were served up in ordinary instruction. And 
while he now fixed his eye upon these phrases he found 
them of such a quality that the children could have no sen 
sible image of the nature of the separate words ; and when 
put together looked, not at simple well-known parts, but at 
a confusion of incomprehensible combinations of unknown 
objects, with which we lead them, against their nature, above 
their strength, and with many delusions, to get ho." f d of 
sequences of thought which are not only wholly strange to 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 55 

them, but need an art of speaking, the beginning of which 
they have not even tried to learn. Kriisi saw that I threw 
away the rubbish of our school wisdom, and, like Nature with 
the savage, always put a picture before the eye, and then 
sought for a word for the picture. He saw that this sim 
plicity of procedure created in them no judgment and no 
inference, while it was put before them, not as a dogma, nor 
in any way connected either with truth or error, but only 
as material for observation, and as a background for future 
criticism and inference, and as a guide on whose track 
they might go further by themselves, by uniting their earty 
and future experiences. 

As he learnt more, and saw deeper into the spirit of the 
method of reducing all branches of knowledge to the first i- 
begmnmg-points, and the gradual joining on of a/.ttle addi- 1 
tion to the first step, in every branch, and found that the i 
consequence of that is a steady progress to new and further j 
additions, he became daily more ready to work with me in 
the spirit of these principles ; and he helped me to bring 
out a spelling book and an arithmetic book, in which these 
principles are essentially followed. 

In the first days of his union with me he wished to go to 
Basle, in order to tell Tobler, to whom he was much at 
tached, of Fischer's death, and about his present situation. 
I took this opportunity of saying to him that I was in 
dispensably in need of help in my writing work, and that I 
should be very glad if it were possible for Tobler to join me. 
I already knew him from his correspondence with Fischer. 
I told him, at the same time, that I needed just as much for 
my purpose, a man who could draw and sing. He went to 
Basle, talked with Tobler, who decided almost directly to 
accede to my wish, and came in a few weeks to Burgdorf ; 
and since Kriisi told him that I also wanted a draughtsman, 
he fell in with Buss, who undertook the task directly. Both 

56 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

have been here eight months ; and I think it would interest 
you to read a precise account of their experience on this 
subject. Tobler was five years tutor in an important house 
in Basle. 

His opinion of the nature of my undertaking, comparing 
it with his own course in his own words is the following : 

"After the efforts of six years, I found the results of my 
instruction did not correspond to my expectations. The in 
tensive powers of my children did not increase in proportion 
to my efforts ; they did not even increase as they should have 
done according to the degree of their real knowledge. They 
did not seem to perceive the inner connection of the isolated 
bits of information I gave them, nor to give them the strict 
long-continued reflection that they needed. I used the best in 
struction-books of our time, But these were partly expressed 
in words that the children could hardly understand, and partly 
so filled with ideas that went beyond their experience, and 
were so opposed to their own way of looking at things, at their 
age, that it demanded infinite time and trouble to explain the 
incomprehensible. These explanations were themselves a 
continual worry, which had no more effect on their real inner 
development, than a single beam of light in a dark room, or 
in a thick fog. This was more the case since many of these 
books, with their pictures and representations, descended to 
the deepest depths of human knowledge, or ascended above 
the clouds, right up to the heaven of eternal glory, before 
they allowed the children to set foot on the firm ground, on 
which men must stand before they learn to fly, or grow 
wings wherewith to rise. 

" The gloomy consciousness of all this impelled me to try 
to entertain my younger pupils with pictures of objects ; but 
to raise my elder ones to clear ideas by Socratizing. The 
first result was, that the little ones made themselves masters 
of much knowledge that other children of their age do not 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 57 

possess. I wished to combine this kind of instruction with 
the formulas of teaching that I found in the best books ; but 
all the books that I wanted to use, were written in a manner 
that presupposed all which must first be given to the chil 
dren namely Language. Therefore my Socratizing with 
tHe elder scholars had the result, that all word-explanations 
are certain to have, that are not based upon a knowledge of 
things, and are expressed in a language which conveys no 
clear ideas to the children. That which they grasped to-day, 
vanished from their minds, in an incomprehensible manner, 
in a few days ; and the more pains I took to make things clear 
to them, the more they seemed to lose the power of seeking it 
themselves, out of the mist in which Nature had placed it. 

" So, on the whole, I felt insurmountable hindrances to my 
progress in my purpose. My conversations with teachers 
and educators in society strengthened my conviction, that 
in spite of the immense educational libraries that our age 
produces, they were in the same perplexity in their daily 
work with their pupils. I felt that these difficulties were 
doubled, and must weigh ten times heavier upon the under 
teachers, if a miserable kind of dabbling work did not make 
them wholly incapable of such a feeling. I Hved in ardent, 
though misty consciousness of the gaps which I saw in the 
whole compass of education, and I tried by all means in my 
power to fill them up ; and undertook to collect, partly from 
experience, partly from educational books, all means and ad 
vantages by which it might be possible to obviate the educa 
tional difficulties that struck me in all children of all ages. 
But I soon felt my life would not be long enough to reach 
this end. I had already written whole books on this subject, 
when Fischer drew my attention in several letters, to Pesta- 
lozzi's method, and made me suspect that perhaps, in other 
ways than mine, he might reach the end I sought. I thought : 
My systematic scientific course perhaps creates the difficulties 

58 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

that do not stand in his way ; and the art of our time may 
itself produce the gaps that he need not fill up, because he 
neither knows nor uses this art. Many of his means, e.g. 
drawing on slates, 7 etc., seemed to me so simple, that I could 
not understand why I had not thought of them long ago. It 
struck me, that what already lay near to hand was used by 
him. This principle of his method particularly attracted me 
educating mothers for that to which they are so remark 
ably designed by nature ; because all my experiments were 
founded upon it. 

" These opinions were confirmed by Kriisi's arrival in 
Basle, who practically showed Pestalozzi's methods of teach 
ing reading and arithmetic in the Grirl's Institute. " Pastor 
Fasch and Von Brunn, who had organized the instruction 
and part of the direction of this Institute according to 
the first indications of Pestalozzi's method, which as yet 
we hardly knew, saw at once the firm impression that the 
drill in simultaneous reading and spelling made upon the 
children. The few materials that Kriisi brought with him 
for teaching writing and arithmetic after this fashion, as 
well as a few copies of a dictionary that Pestalozzi had 
designed as the first reading book for children, showed us 
that these methods had a deep psychological basis. All this 
made me quickly decide to accede to Pestalozzi's wish and 
join him. 

" I came to Burgdorf, and found my expectations fulfilled 
at the first glance at this growing undertaking. The re 
markable and general self-expressing capacity of his chil 
dren, as well as the simplicity and multiplicity of means 
of development by which this capacity was created, filled me 
with astonishment. His complete disregard of all former 
school routine, the simplicity of the pictures he impressed, 
the sharp separation of the inner parts of his subject of 
instruction into portions that must be learnt progressively 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 59 

at odd times, his rejection of everything involved or con 
fused, his 'silent influence upon all the inherent powers, 
his firm hold upon words whenever they were needed, and par 
ticularly the force with which his few means of instruction 
seemed to spring, like a new creation, out of the elements of 
art and human nature all this stretched my attention to 
the utmost. 

" Certainly there seemed to me a few very unpsychological 
things in his experiment, e.g. the repetition of difficult, con 
fused propositions, of which the first impression must be 
quite vague to the child. But as I saw with what power he 
prepared for the gradual clearing of ideas, and how, as he 
told me, Nature herself wraps all sense-impressions at first in 
confused mistiness, but gradually clears them up, I found I 
had nothing more to say ; and certainly less, as I saw that 
he set little value on the individual portions of his under 
taking, but tried much, only to reject it. By many of these 
experiments he was only seeking to raise the inner capacity 
of the children, and to find the explanation of the grounds and 
principles which occasioned the use of these various methods. 
I did not let myself be misled, when a few of his means 
came upon me, in the trembling weakness of isolated first 
experiments; the less so, as I soon convinced myself that 
progressive advance lay in their very nature. Certainly 
I saw this in arithmetic, drawing, and in the fundamental 
methods of language-teaching. 

" Now it became clearer to me every day, that his special 
methods, through the connection of the whole with each, 
depended especially on the susceptibility of the children to 
each ; and so I saw, that these methods grew ripe through his 
daily work, before they were spoken of as principles, which 
must necessarily forward the end he was seeking. In his 
attempts and experiments he relied upon none of these 
means, until he held it almost physically impossible to 

60 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

simplify their essence any further, or to penetrate deeper 
to their foundations. These steps towards simplifying the 
whole, and completing the single parts, confirmed the convic 
tion that I before held vaguely, that all means which seek 
the development of the human mind through a complicated 
terminology, carry the hindrance to their result in them 
selves ; and that all means of education and development 
must be reduced to extreme simplicity of their inner being, 
as well as to an organization of language teaching, psycho 
logical and harmonious, if we would help Nature in that self- 
activity, that she shows in the development of our race. So 
gradually his object in breaking up the study of language 
became clear to me, and also why he reduced arithmetic to 
the principle always to be kept in mind, that all arithmetic 
is only a short method of counting, and counting only a short 
method, instead of the tiresome expression one, and one, and 
one, etc. makes so much ; and why he built all power of 
doing, even the power of clear representation of all real 
objects, upon the early development of the ability to draw 
lines, angles, rectangles, and curves. 

" It followed of course that my conviction of the advan 
tages of the method should be daily strengthened, as I 
daily saw the effect produced on measurement, arithmetic, 
writing, and drawing, by the powet universally awakened 
and used according to these principles. I raised myself daily 
more to the conviction, that it might be possible to reach the 
end which I mentioned above, as having animated my own 
actions, namely, to educate mothers for that to which they are 
eminently designed by nature ; and through it, even the lowest 
material of ordinary school-instruction might be founded 
upon the results of companionable motherly instruction. I 
saw a universal psychological method formed, by which 
every father and mother who found the motive in them 
selves, might be put in a position to instruct their own 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 61 

children, and thereby to obviate the imaginary necessity of 
cultivating teachers by costly seminaries and educational 
libraries for a long period. 

"In a word, through the impression of the whole, and 
through the constant similarity of my experiences, I am 
restored to the faith that I cherished so warmly in the be 
ginning of my pedagogic course, but which I nearly lost as 
I went on under the burden of such art and help as is 
provided by the age the faith, namely, in the possibility 
of improving the human race" 


You have now read Tobler's and Kriisi's opinion of my 
object. I will now send that of Buss. You know my 
opinion of the latent capacities of the lower classes. What 
a proof Buss is of this ! How this man has developed in 
six months ! Show Wieland his attempt at an A, B, C, 
of Anschauung. 1 I know how interested he is in all that 
can throw light on the course of development of the human 
race ; he will certainly, in this attempt, find a proof of how 
many apparently wasted and neglected powers can be used 
and increased by gentle help and stimulus. 

Dear friend, The world is full of useful men, but empty 
of people who can put these useful men into their places. 
In our time every one limits his idea of human usefulness 
within his own skin [or at most extends it to men who lie 
as near as his shirt]. 

Dear friend, Seriously imagine these three men and what 
I do with them. I wish you knew them and their way of 
life more exactly. Buss tells you at my request, something 
about it himself. 

Tobler's first education was sheer neglect. In his two-and- 
twentieth year he found himself, as by a miracle, thrown 
into the midst of scientific systems, and particularly in the 

62 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

department of education. He thought to master them ; but 
now he sees they mastered him, and caused him, ID spite 
of a presentiment of the insufficiency of his own education, 
to trustfully follow the way of books, without following 
Nature herself by the way of sense-impression, of which 
he dimly felt the need. He sees tlie danger in which he 
stood, of losing himself in a sea of thousands upon thousands 
of details separately rational, without at that time finding 
principles of education and school-culture whose result 
would be, not rational words and rational books, but [through 
the cultivated power of reason], rational men. He lamented 
that in his two-and -twentieth year, when book-study had 
not yet begun to lessen his native capacity, he had not 
already found the path that he now trod in his thirtieth 

He felt deeply how this intervening epoch had injured 
him ; and it does his heart and the method equal honour 
that he says himself, that ignorant and uninstructed men 
could find the beginning points, more easily and certainly^ 
than he, and could then go on. Meanwhile he is true to his 
conviction. His talents make his progress sure. When he 
has worked through the difficulties of the simple beginnings, 
these, and former knowledge which he combines with them, 
will make it easj 7 " for him to connect the method with the 
higher points of school-instruction, to which we have not 
yet come. 

You know Krtisi, and have seen the power he shows in 
his vocation. It is extraordinary. Whoever sees him work 
ing is astonished. He possesses an independence in his 
vocation, that is only displeasing to the man who has none 
himself; and yet, before he knew the method he was, except 
in mechanical school-teacher's routine, far behind Buss in all 
branches. He now says himself, without knowledge of the 
method, all his efforts towards independence would not have 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 63 

enabled him to stand on his own feet, but he should have 
remained always dependent upon others' guidance ; and that 
is entirely opposed to his Appenzel spirit. He has given 
up a post of 500 florins, and has remained in the most 
straitened circumstances of his present situation, just 
because he felt and saw that here he now might indeed 
become a schoolmaster, but there he could be nothing else, 
and even that not satisfactorily. You will not wonder how 
he came to this decision ; his simplicity led him to it ; he 
entirely lost himself in the method. The result is natural ; 
as Tobler truly said,-" it was easy enough for him, because 
he had no art, and he gained it precisely because he knew 
nothing, but had ability." 

Friend, have I not reason to be proud of the first-fruits of 
my method ? Shall men always, as you said to me two years 
ago, have no mind for the simple psychological ideas on 
which it is founded ? May all its fruits be like these three 
firstlings. Bead Buss's opinion too, and then hear me again. 

u My father," said Buss, " held an office in a Theological 
College at Tubingen, and had free lodging there. He 
sent me from my third to my thirteenth year to the Latin 
school, where I learnt whatever was taught at that age. At 
that time I lived mostly, when out of school, with students, 
who were pleased to play with a very lively boy. In my 
eighth year one of them taught me piano-playing, but as he 
left Tubingen in half a year my lessons were broken off, and 
I was left to teach myself. Steady perseverance and prac 
tice brought me so forward, that I was able in my twelfth 
year to give lessons in this subject to a lady and a boy, with 
the best results. 

" In my eleven thy ear, I enjoyed also instruction in drawing, 
and continued perseveringly the study of Greek and Hebrew, 
Logic and Rhetoric. The aim of my parents was to devote 
me to study, and for this end to send me either to the 

64 Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

newly built Academy of Arts and Sciences at Stuttgart, or 
to the direction of the professors of the University at 

" Up till now, men of all ranks were admitted into the 
Academy, some paying, some free. My parents' means did 
not allow them> to spend the least sum upon me. For this 
reason a petition was sent for free admission to the 
Academy, but it was returned with a negative answer, signed 
by Carl himself. 2 This, with, as far as I remember, the 
simultaneous notice of the closing of studies against the sons 
of all the middle and lower classes, had a great effect upon 
me. I turned my attention entirely to drawing, but was 
again interrupted within the half-year, for my teacher, on 
account of bad conduct, was obliged to leave the town, and so 
I was left without means or prospects of being able to help 
myself, and soon found it necessary to bind myself apprentice 
to a bookbinder. 

"My frame of mind had sunk almost to indifference. I 
took up this trade as I should have taken any other in order 
to extinguish all remembrance of my youthful dreams, by 
constant manual labour. This I could not do. I worked, but 
I was unspeakably discontented, and nourished hasty feelings 
against the injustice of a power that against precedent shut 
me out, merely because I belonged to the lower classes, from 
any means of culture and from my hopes and prospects, to 
reach which I had spent a great part of my youth. Yet I 
nourished the hope of earning, through my trade, the means 
of giving up my unsatisfactory handicraft, and of somehow 
retrieving what I had lost. 

" I travelled ; but the world was too narrow for me. I 
became melancholy, sick, had to go home again, tried anew 
to renounce my calling, and hoped to earn my necessary sub 
sistence in Switzerland, by means of the little I knew of 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 65 

" I went to Basle, and hoped to find some opportunity of 
giving lessons. But my former position produced a certain 
shyness, that prevented me from taking the first steps 
towards earning money. I had not the heart to say any 
thing of all that must be said, in order to obtain what I 
wanted, from people as they are. A friend, who accidentally 
met me in this embarrassment, reconciled me for the moment 
to my bookbinding. I went into a workshop again, but also 
dreamed again, from the first day I sat down in it, of the 
possibility of finding something else with time and oppor 
tunity, although I was almost convinced that I was too far 
behind in music and drawing, to enable me to procure a secure 
independence by their means. In order to gain time to 
improve myself, I soon changed from my first place, and 
gained two hours a day for myself, and found acquaintances 
who made my work easier. 

"Among others I learned to know Tobler, who soon ob 
served the trouble that was gnawing me, and wished to 
remove me from my position. He thought of me directly, 
when Kriisi told him that Pestalozzi's newly organized 
method of instruction required a man, who understood music 
and drawing. 

"I knew I was backward in general culture and in draw 
ing, and my hope of finding opportunity of advancing in 
both made me quickly decide to go to Burgdorf, although 
I was warned by several people against having any con 
nection with Pestalozzi, because he was half an idiot, and 
did not know his own mind.* This tale is still repeated . 
with variations ; how once he came into Basle with straw- 
bound shoes, because he had given his buckles to a beggar 

* I naturally feel that the public expression of this part of my 
opinion is unseemly. But Pestalozzi wished it, and demanded an 
unconstrained candid statement of the impression that he and every 
thing else had made upon me. 


66 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

outside the gate. I had read ' Leonard and Gertrude/ and 
believed in the buckles, but that he was a fool I did not 

" In short, I wished to try. I came to Burgdorf. His 
first appearance hardly surprised me. He came down from 
an upper room with ungartered stockings, very dirty, and 
looking thoroughly put out, with Ziemssen, who had just 
come to visit him. I cannot describe my feeling at that 
moment-; it almost approached pity, mixed with astonish 

" Pestalozzi ! and what did I see ! His benevolence, his 
joy over me, a stranger, his freedom from presumption, his 
simplicity, and the disorder in which he stood before me, all 
carried me away in a moment. No man had ever so touched 
my heart, no man had ever so won my trust. 

" The next morning I went into his school, and saw really 
nothing at first but apparent disorder, and, to me, unpleasant 
confusion. But from the warmth with which Ziemssen had 
spoken the day before of Pestalozzi's plans, my attention 
was ready to be roused beforehand, so that I soon got over 
this impression, and it was not long before I was struck by 
some advantages of this method of teaching. I thought at 
first that dwelling too long upon a point strained the children 
too much ; but when I saw the perfection to which he brought 
his children in the beginning-points of their exercises, the 
flitting-around and springing-about permitted by the course of 
instruction given in my youth, appeared for the first time at 
a disadvantage. It made me think that if I had been made 
to dwell as long and as steadily on the beginnings, / should 
have been in a position to help myself in progressing 
towards the higher steps, and so to conquer all the evils of 
life and the melancholy in which I was now plunged. 

"This reflection agreed with Pestalozzi's principle of 
enabling men by his method to help themselves, since, as he 

^How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 67 

says, on God's earth no one helps them, or can help them. I 
shuddered when I read this passage in ' Leonard and Ger 
trude ' for the first time. But it is the experience of my 
life, that no one on God's earth will or can help him who 
cannot help himself. It was now evident to me that the 
gaps, which I could not fill up to attain my end, had their 
origin in 3 the weakness and superficiality of the instruction 
I had received in the branch of art in which I had now to 
work, without knowing anything of the principles on which, 
that art was founded. 

" I certainly now threw all my energy into the department 
in which Pestalozzi wanted my help, but for a long time I 
could not understand a single one of his opinions on drawing, 
and at first knew not what he wanted when he said : 

" ' Lines, angles, and curves are the foundations of the art 
of drawing.' In order to explain himself to me, he said, 
' Here, too, the human being must be raised from dim sense- 
impressions to clear ideas.' But I could not understand 
how that could be done by drawing. He said, ' This must 
be obtained by the division of squares and curves into parts, 
and by analysing their parts to units, that can be seen and 
compared.' I tried to find this analysis and simplification, 
but I could not find the beginning-point of simplicity, and 
with all my trouble found myself in a sea of single figures, 
that were certainly simple in themselves, but did not make 
Pestalozzi's laws of simplicity clear. He could, unfortunately, 
neither write nor draw, though he had brought his children, 
by some incomprehensible way, far on in both. In short, for 
months I did not understand him, and for months did not 
know what to make of the lines that he gave me as a pattern, 
until at last I felt, either I ought to know less than I did, or 
at least must throw away my knowledge, and stand upon the 
simple points, which I saw gave him his power, that I could 
not follow. It was hard. At last my ripened insight com- 

68 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

'pelled me, seeing how far his children were brought by perse 
vering upon his beginning-point, to go down to these points. 
Then was my attempt at an A B C of Anschauung complete 
in a couple of days. 

There it was, and as yet I knew not what it was ; but the 
first recognition of its existence had the greatest effect upon 
me. I knew not before that this art consisted of lines only. 

Now every thing that I saw suddenly stood between 
lines that defined its outline. Tn my representations I had 
never separated the outlines from the object. Now, in my 
imagination, they freed themselves from it, and fell into 
measurable forms, from which every deviation was sharply 
distinct to me. But as at first I saw only objects, now I saw 
only lines, and believed these must be used with the children 
absolutely, and to the utmost extent before giving them real 
objects to imitate, or even examine. But Pestalozzi thought 
of these rules of drawing in connection with his whole pur 
pose, and in connection with Nature, which allows no part 
of the Art long to stand separate in the human mind. With 
this intention he had put a double series of figures before the 
children from the cradle upwards, some in the book for early 
childhood, some in preparation for definite forms. With the 
first he wished to help Nature, and develop knowledge of 
words and things as early as possible in the children, by 
means of a series of representations of Nature. With the 
second he wished to combine the rules of art with the sense- 
impression of art, and to support the consciousness of pure 
lorm. and of objects which fit into it, in the minds of the 
children by means of juxtaposition; and, lastly, to secure 
thereby a gradual psychological progress in art, so that they 
can use every line that they can draw perfectly, for objects, 
the complete drawing of which is only a repetition of the 
measure-form, that is already familiar to them. 

" I feared to weaken the power of sense-impression in the 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 69 

children by laying down figures, but Pestalo/zi wanted no 
unnatural power. He said once, ' Nature gives the child no 
lines, she only gives things, and lines must be given him, 
only in order that he may perceive things rightly. The 
things must not be taken from him in order that he may see 
only lines.' And another time he became so angry about the 
danger of rejecting Nature for the sake of lines, that he ex 
claimed, 'Grod forbid that I should overwhelm the human 
mind and harden it against natural sense-impression, for the 
sake of these lines and of the Art, as idolatrous priests have 
overwhelmed it with superstitious teaching, and hardened it 
against natural sense-impressions. 

" Lastly, I observed and found in the plans of both books 
full agreement with the course of Nature, and only so much 
art, as is necessary to make Nature have that effect upon the 
human mind, which is essentially wanted for the develop 
ment of its talents. 

" Before this I had been in a dilemma. Pestalozzi- said to 
me, the children must be taught to read these outlines like 
words, and to name the separate parts of curves and angles 
with letters, so that their combination can be as clearly ex 
pressed upon paper, as any word by the combination of 
letters. These lines and curves should be an ABC oi 
Anschauung, and thereby become the foundation of an art- 
language, by which all varieties of forms should not only be 
most clearly known, but distinctly expressed in words. He 
did not rest till I understood. I saw how much trouble I 
gave him ; I was sorry ; but it was of no use ; no A B C of 
Anschauung would have been found without his patience. 

" At last it was found. I began with the letter A ; that 
was what he wanted, and one followed another, so that I had 
no more trouble. The thing already existed in the finished 
drawing, but the difficulty was that I could not express what 
I really knew, nor understand the expressions of others. 

70 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

" It is, however, one of the essential results of the method, 
that this evil will be remedied. The art of speaking will be 
firmly connected with the knowledge given us by Nature and 
Art, and the children will learn to express themselves about 
every step of knowledge. 

" It was commonly remarked among us teachers, that we 
could not clearly and fully express ourselves about matters 
that we thoroughly knew. It was difficult even to Pestalozzi 
always to find words [for stating his views of the aims of 
education] that would clearly express his meaning. 

" It was owing to this want of [definite] speech, that I 
fumbled about so long in doubt about my department, and 
did not and could not see Pestalozzi's principles. 

" After I had overcome this difficulty, I recognised the ad 
vantages of the method every day, and particularly saw how 
the A B C of Anschauung through the definite language which 
it gives the children about objects and art, even in that 
degree, 1 must form in them a far more exact feeling of right- 
ness and proportion. I felt especially how men 4 who have 
been taught to speak with art and care about their surround 
ings, become able, merely through knowing rightly the names 
of objects, to distinguish them more clearly and be more con 
scious of their characteristics, than can be possible to those 
who have not been so taught. Experience confirmed my 
expectation. Children criticised these different parts more 
justly than men accustomed to measurement and drawing 
from their youth. Their progress in this art was so rapid 
that it could not be compared with the ordinary progress of 

" And though I only saw the whole method, through the 
medium of my department, and its limited effect, yet from 
the energy and care with which I worked within this limit, 
I learnt gradually, step by step, not only to guess its effect 
upon other branches, but to see and understand it. So I came 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 71 

to see, by the limited clue given by my lessons in draw 
ing, how it might be possible, 5 by the psychology of language, 
by the gradual progress of lessons from sound to word, from 
word to speech, to attain to the formation of clear ideas, as 
well as by the progress from lines to angles, from angles to 
figures, and from figures to objects. I understood the same 
course in arithmetic. Till now I had looked upon each num 
ber without any definite consciousness of its proper value or 
contents, merely as an independent entity, just as formerly I 
regarded the objects of art, without any discriminating con 
sciousness of their definite outlines or proportions, i.e. of their 
contents. Now I was sensibly conscious of the definite con 
tents of any number, and I recognised the progress made by 
children who enjoyed this teaching, and saw at the same time, 
how essential it is for every branch of knowledge, that simul 
taneous instruction should be given in number, form, and 
language. As I had recognised the stoppage in my branch 
owing to want of language, so now I recognised the de 
ficiencies owing to the want of arithmetic. For example, 
I saw that the child cannot represent the separate parts of 
any form without being able to count them, just as until he 
distinctly knows that the number 4 is composed of four units, 
he cannot understand how the single number can be divided 
into four parts. Thus, from the clearness to which my 
work now brought me daily, as much as through myself, 
the conviction developed that the method, by its influence 
upon the human mind generally, produces in children the 
power of helping themselves further on in every branch, and 
is essentially a fly-wheel, that needs only to be set going, in 
order to go on by itself. But I was not the only one to find 
this out. Hundreds of men came, saw, and said, ' This can 
not fail.' Peasant men and women said, * I can do that 
with my child at home.' And they were right. V 

" The whole method is play for any one, as soon as he grasps 

72 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

the clue of the beginnings. This secures him from wan 
dering in byways, which alone make the Art difficult to the 
human race, because they lead away from Nature herself, 
and from the firm ground upon which alone it is possible to 
rest its foundations. She requires nothing of us that is not 
easy, if we seek it in the right way and from her hands 
only. 6 

" I have but this to add. Knowledge of the method has 
in great measure restored the cheerfulness and strength of 
my youth, and animated my hopes for myself and the human 
race, that I had long before this time regarded as dreams, 
and which I threw away, in spite of the yearnings of my 


Friend, you have now learned to know the men who are still 
working with me ; but I did not have them when I first came 
here. I did not look for them at first. After I left Stanz I 
was so tired and shaken, that even the ideals of my old plans 
for popular education began to wither up in me, and I limited 
my purpose at that time, only to improvements of detail in 
the existing miserable condition of schools. It is owing 
simply to my needs and the circumstance that I could not even 
do this, and that I was forced back into the only track by 
which the spirit of my old purpose was attainable. Mean 
while, I worked several months within the limits to which 
my own diffidence had confined me. It was a strange state of 
things. Ignorant and unpractical as I was, but with my power 
of comprehension and of simplifying, I was at the same time 
the lowest hedge-schoolmaster and also reformer of instruc 
tion and this in an age, in which, since the epochs of Rous 
seau and Basedow, 1 half the world had been set in motion for 
this purpose. I really knew nothing of what they wanted 
and were doing. I saw only this much the higher points of 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 73 

instruction, or rather the higher instruction itself, here and 
there brought to a pitch of perfection, the splendour of which 
dazzled my ignorance, as sunlight dazzles a bat. I found 
the middle stages of instruction raised far above the sphere 
of my knowledge ; and I saw even the lowest, worked here 
and there with an ant-like industry and fidelity, the use and 
result of which I could in no way mistake. 

When, then, I looked upon the whole of instruction, or 
rather on instruction as a whole, and in connection with the 
real true position of the mass of individuals who need to be 
instructed, the little that I could do, in spite of my ignor 
ance, seemed to me infinitely more than that which I saw 
the people really received. The more I looked upon the 
people, the more I found that what seems to flow to them 
like a mighty stream from books, when one observes it in 
village or schoolroom, vanishes in a mist, whose moist dark 
ness leaves the people neither wet nor dry, and gives them 
the advantages of neither day nor night. I could not hide 
from myself that school-instruction, at least as I saw it actu 
ally practised, was for the great majority, and for the lowest 
classes, of no use at all.- 

As far as I knew it, it seemed to me like a great house, of 
which the upper story was bright with the highest and best 
art, but inhabited by few men. In the middle many more 
dwelt, but there were no steps by which, in a human way, 
they could mount to the upper story ; and if a few showed 
a desire to clamber up to the higher story, animal-fashion, 
whenever they were seen, sometimes a finger, here and there 
an arm or a leg, by which they were trying to climb, was 
cut off. Lastly, below, lived a countless herd of men, who 
had an equal right with the highest to sunshine and healthy 
air, but they were not only left in nauseous darkness, in star 
less dens, but by binding and blinding the eyes, they were 
made unable even to look up to the upper storeys. 2 

74 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Friend, this view of things led me naturally to the convic 
tion that it is essential and urgent, not merely to plaster over 
the school-evils, which enervate the great majority of the men 
of Europe, but to heal them at the root, that consequently 
half-measures in this matter will easily turn into second 
doses of poison, which not only cannot stop the effects of the 
first, but must surely double them. I certainly did not want 
that. Meanwhile, the consciousness began daily to develop 
in me that it must be absolutely impossible to remedy school- 
evils as a whole, if one cannot succeed in reducing the 
mechanical formulas of instruction to those eternal laws,) 
according to which the human mind rises from mere sense- 
impressions to clear ideas. 

This consciousness, which, as I said, was daily confirmed, 
led me also at the same time to a point of view, which com 
manded the whole field of education. Then, though in my 
innermost state of mind I resembled a mouse in her hole, 
frightened by a cat, and hardly daring to peep out, yet I was 
forced to see that the faint-hearted half-measures, adopted in 
my discouragement, could not only do nothing satisfactory for 
the needs of schools as a whole, but, in circumstances that 
might easily arise, might here and there even have the effect 
of making the poor children take a second dose of that opium, 
which they were accustomed to swallow within the school 

But without fearing so much from the lifeless inanity 
of my solitary school-keeping, it displeased me more every 
day. I seemed in my endeavours like a seafarer, who, having 
lost his harpoon, tries to catch a whale with a hook. Of 
course it cannot be done. He must, if he wants to reach 
shore safe and sound, either take a harpoon in his hand, or 
let the whale go. As soon as I began to comprehend what 
was wanted to satisfy the urgent needs of my purpose, and 
to make the principles of instruction agree with the course 

Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 75 

of nature, I was in a like case. The claims of Nature upon 
my work were no longer isolated. They stood together as a 
connected whole before my eyes ; and if, like the whale-fisher, 
I would reach home safe and sound, I must either give up 
the thought of doing anything, even the least, in my pro 
fession, or respect the unity of Nature, whithersoever it might 
lead me. I did the last. I trusted myself once and for ever 
blindly to her guidance, and, after I had been knocking 
about a will-less hedge-schoolmaster, driving the empty 
ABC wheelbarrow, I tErew myself suddenly into an under 
taking that included the founding of an orphan's home, a 
teacher's seminary, and a boarding-school, and which needed 
in the first year, an advance of money, even the tenth part 
of which I could not anticipate getting into my hands. 

But it succeeded. Friend, it succeeds and it must succeed. 
Deep experience has taught me that the human heart, even 
the misled government heart that [under certain circum 
stances] is the hardest of all human hearts, cannot resist any 
great and pure effort of devotion to humanity, if its fertile 
bud has once fully blossomed before its eyes, nor let it pine 
and sink helpless away. And, Gessner, a few of my early 
experiments have borne ripe fruit. 3 

Friend, man is good, and desires what is good; at the 
same time he desires his own welfare with it. If he is bad, 
certainly the way is blocked up along which he would be 
good. Oh ! this blocking up is a terrible thing ; and it is 
so common, and man is therefore so seldom good. Yet I 
believe everywhere and always in the human heart. In this 
faith I now go on in my untrodden way, as if it were on a 
paved Roman road. 

But I wished to lead you into the confusion of ideas, 
through which I had to work, to gain light for myself upon 
the mechanical formulas of instruction, and their subordina 
tion to the eternal laws of human nature. 

76 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Friend, for this purpose I will copy for you a few passages 
from the Report on my experiments, which I made to a few 
friends of my Institute, six months ago. 4 They will throw 
much light on the progress of my ideas. 

" Man," I said, in this account, u becomes man only through 
the Art ; * but however far this guide created by ourselves 
goes, it must always be united with the simple course of 
Nature. Whatever it does, and however boldly it may lift 
us above the condition, and even the privileges of our animal 
nature, yet it cannot add a hair's breadth to the spirit of that 
form, through which our race is raised from confused sense- 
impressions to clear ideas. And it ought, not. It fulfils its 
end our ennobling essentially in this only, that it develops 
us in this and in no other form; and so soon as it tries another 
way, throws us back into that inhuman state, out of which it 
is destined by the Creator of our nature, to raise us. The 
soul of Nature from which springs the form of development 
which our race requires, is in itself unshaken and eternal. 
It is, and must be, the eternal and unshaken foundation of 
the Art. It also appears to the eye of every one who sees 
beneath the surface, in its highest splendour, only like a 
magnificent house, that by imperceptible additions of single 
tiny bits, has been raised upon a great everlasting rock. So 
long as it is inherently bound up with the rock, it rests 
unshakenly upon it, but falls suddenly asunder into the tiny 
bits of which it was composed, if the bond between it and 
the rock is broken in the least degree. So immense is the 
result of the Art in itself as a whole, so little and impercept 
ible is, in every case, the single thing that the Art adds to 
the course of Nature, or rather, builds on her foundations. 
Its means for the development of our faculties are limited 
essentially to this : what Nature puts before us scattered 
over a wide area, and in confusion, the Art puts together in 
* The Art, i.e. The art of Instruction or Education. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 77 

narrower bounds, and in regular sequence, and brings nearer 
to our five senses, by associations which facilitate and 
strengthen our susceptibility to all impressions, and so raise 
our senses to present to us the objects of the world, daily in 
greater numbers, for a longer time, and in a more precise 
way. But the power of the Art depends on the harmony of 
its results and work, with the essential workings of Nature. 
Its whole action is one and the same with that of Nature. 

" Man ! imitate this action of high Nature, who out of the 
seed of the largest tree first produces a scarcely perceptible 
shoot, then, just as imperceptibly, daily and hourly, by 
gradual stages, unfolds first the beginnings of the stem, then 
the bough, then the branch, then the extreme twig on which 
hangs the perishable leaf. Consider carefully this action of 
great Nature, how she tends and perfects every single part as 
it is formed, and joins on every new part to the permanent 
growth of the old . 

" Consider carefully how the bright blossom is unfolded 
from the deeply hidden bud. Consider how the bloom of 
its first day's splendour is soon lost, while the fruit, at first 
weak but perfectly formed, adds something important every 
day to all that it is already. So quietly growing for long 
months, it hangs on the twig that nourishes it, until fully 
ripe and perfect in all its parts, it falls from the tree. 

" Consider how mother Nature, with the uprising shoot, also 
develops the germ of the root, and buries the noblest part of 
the tree deep in the bosom of the earth ; again, how she 
forms the immovable stem from the very heart of the root, 
and the boughs from the very heart of the stem, and the 
branches from the very heart of the boughs. How to all, 
even the weakest, outermost twig she gives enough, but to 
none useless, disproportionate, superfluous strength." 

The mechanism of physical [human] nature is essentially 
subject to th6 same laws as those by which physical Nature 


78 Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

generally unfolds her powers. According to these laws, all 
instruction should engraft the most essential parts of its sub 
ject of knowledge firmly into the very being of the human 
mind ; then join on the less essential gradually, but uninterrup 
tedly, to the most essential, and maintain all the parts of the 
subject, even to the outermost, in one living proportionate 
whole. I now sought for laws to which the development of 
the human mind must, by its very nature, be subject. I knew 
they must be the same as those of physical Nature, and 
trusted to find in them a safe clue to a universal psycho 
logical method of instruction. " Man," said I to myself, 
while dreamily seeking this clue, " as you recognise in every 
physical ripening of the complete fruit the result of perfec 
tion in all its parts, so consider no human judgment ripe 
that does not appear to you to be the result of a complete sense- 
impression of all the parts of the object to be judged; but on 
the contrary, look upon every judgment that seems ripe before 
a complete observation (Ansch.} has been made, as nothing but 
a worm-eaten, and therefore apparently ripe fruit, fallen un 
timely from the tree. 

1. Learn therefore to classify observations and complete 
the simple before proceeding to the complex. Try to 
make in every art, graduated steps of knowledge, in 
which every new idea is only a small, almost imper 
ceptible, addition to that which has been known 
before, deeply impressed and not to be forgotten. 

2. Again, bring all things, essentially related to each 
other, to that connection in your mind which they 
have in Nature. Subordinate all unessential things to 
essential in your idea. Especially subordinate the 
impression given by the Art to that given by Nature 
and reality ; and give to nothing a greater weight in 
your idea, than it has in relation to your race in 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 79 

3. Strengthen and make clear the impressions ot im 
portant objects by bringing them nearer to you by 
the Art, and letting them affect you through different 
senses. Learn for this purpose the first law of 
physical mechanism, which makes the relative power 
of all influences of physical Nature depend on the 
physical nearness or distance of the object in contact 
with the senses. Never forget this physical nearness 
or distance has an immense effect in determining your 
positive opinions, conduct, duties and even virtue. 5 

4. Regard all the effects of natural law as absolutely 
necessary, and recognise in this necessity the result 
of her power, by which Nature unites together the 
apparently heterogeneous elements of her materials, for 
the achievement of her end. Let the Art with which 
you work through instruction, upon your race, and 
the results you aim at, be founded upon natural law, 
so that all your actions may be means to this principal 
end, although apparently heterogeneous. 

5. But the richness of its charm, and the variety of its 
free play cause physical necessity, or natural law, to 
bear the impress of freedom and independence. 

Let the results of your art and your instruction, while you 
try to found them upon natural law, by the richness of their 
charm and the variety of their free play, bear the impres 
sion of freedom and independence. 

All these laws, to which the development of human nature 
is subject, converge towards one centre. They converge 
towards the centre of our whole being, and we ourselves are 
this centre. 

Friend, all that I am, all I wish, all I might be, comes 
out of myself. Should not my knowledge also come out 
of myself ? 

8o How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 



In these several propositions I have given you threads, 
from which I believe a general and psychological method of 
instruction may be woven. 

They do not content me ; I feel I am not in a position to 
state the essential laws of Nature on which these propositions 
rest, in all their simplicity and completeness. So far as I 
see they have, collective^, a threefold source. 

The first source is Nature herself, by whose power our 
mind rises from misty sense-impressions to clear ideas. 
From this source flow the following principles, which must 
be recognised as foundations of the laws, whose nature I am 

1. All things which affect my senses, are means of 
helping me to form correct opinions, only so far as 
their phenomena present to my senses their immut 
able, unchangeable, essential * nature, as distinguished 
from their variable appearance or their external 
qualities. They are, on the other hand, sources of 
error and deception so far as their phenomena pre 
sent to my senses their accidental qualities, rather 
than their essential characteristics. 

2. To every sense-impression, perfectly and indelibly 
impressed on the human mind, a whole train of sense- 
impressions, more or less closely associated, may be 
added easily, as it were involuntarily. 

3. Now if the essential nature, rather than the accidental 
qualities, of a thing is impressed with a force dispro 
portionately strong upon your mind, the organism 2 of 
your nature leads you, of itself, in relation to this 
subject, daily from truth to truth. If, on the con 
trary, the variable quality rather than its essential 
nature is impressed with disproportionately stronger 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 8r 

force upon your mind, the organism 2 of your nature 
leads you, on this subject, daily from error to error. 

4. By putting together objects, whose essential nature 
is the same, your insight into their inner truth 
becomes essentially and universally wider, sharper, 
and surer. The one-sided, biassed impression made 
by the qualities of individual objects, as opposed to 
the impression that their nature should make upon 
you, becomes weakened. Your mind is protected 
against being swallowed up by the isolated force of 
single, separate impressions of qualities, and you are 
saved from the danger of thoughtlessly confusing^ the 
external qualities, with the essential nature of things, 
and from fantastically filling your head with inci 
dental matters to the detriment of clearer insight. 
It follows, the more a man makes essential, compre 
hensive, and general views of things his own, the 
less can limited, one-sided views lead him astray 
about the nature of his object. Again, the less he 
is exercised in comprehensive sense-impressions of 
Nature, the easier can single views of an object, 
under varying conditions, confuse in him the essential 
view, and even blot it out. 

5. The most complex sense-impressions rest upon simple 
elements. When you are perfectly clear about these, 
the most complex will become simple. 

6. The more senses you have questioned about the 
nature or appearance of a thing, the more accurate 
will be your knowledge of it. 

These seem to me the principles of the physical mechanism ? 
which are themselves derived from the very nature of our 
minds. With these are connected the general laws of this 
mechanism itself, of which I now only say, " Perfection is the 
great law of Nature ; all imperfection is untrue." 


82 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

^ The second source of these physico-mechanical laws is the 
power of sense-impression intimately interwoven with the 
emotional side of my nature. 

This wavers in all its actions, between the desire of learn 
ing, and knowing everything, and that of enjoying everything, 
which stops the impulse towards knowing and learning. As 
a mere_physical power, the laziness of my race is. stimulated 
by curiosity, while curiosity is lulled again by laziness. But 
neither the stimulus of the one nor the sedative of the other 
has, in itself, more than physical value. But curiosity has 
great value as a sense-foundation for my power of inquiry, 
and inertia is valuable as a sense-foundation for cool .judg 
ment. We reach all our learning, through the infinite charm 
that the tree of knowledge has for our nature through our 
senses, while, owing to the principle of inertia, that checks 
our easy superficial flitting about from one sense-impression 
to another, in many ways a man ripens to truth before he 
expresses it. 

But our truth-amphibia know nothing of this ripening. 
They croak truth before they have an inkling of it, let alone 
know it. They cannot do otherwise. They have not the 
power of quadrupeds to stand firm on the ground ; the fins of 
fishes to swim over gulfs ; the wings of birds to soar above 
,the clouds. They know as little of unbiassed sense-impressions 
of objects as Eve, and when, like Eve, they swallow the un 
ripe fruit of truth, they share her fate. 

The third source of these physico-mechanical laws lies in 
the relation of my outer condition to my power of learning. 

Man is bound to his nest, and if he hangs it upon a hundred 
threads and describes a hundred circles round it, what does 
he more than the spider, who hangs her nest upon a hundred 
threads and describes a hundred circles round it? And 
what is the difference between a somewhat larger or smaller 
spider? The essence of their doing is: they sit in the centre 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 83 

oi; the circle they describe ; but man chooses not the centre 
in which he spins, and weaves ; he learns all the realities 
of the world in their mere physical aspects, absolutely in 
proportion as the objects of the world that reach his sense.- 
impressions approach the centre in which he spins and 
weaves [for the most part, without his help]. 


Friend ! You see at least the pains I take to make the 
theory of my doings clear to you. Let this painstaking be a 
kind of excuse when you feel how little I have succeeded. 
Since my twentieth year, I have been incapable of philosophic 
thought, in the true sense of the word. Happily for the 
practical working out of my plan, I wanted none of that 
philosophy that seems to me so tiresome. I lived at the 
highest nerve-tension on every point in the circle wherein I 
worked. I knew what I wanted, took no thought for the 
morrow, and felt at the moment what was really necessary 
for the subject that particularly interested me. And if my 
imagination drove me to-day a hundred steps farther than I 
found firm ground, to-morrow, I retraced these hundred steps. 
This happened thousands of times. Thousands and thousands 
of times I believed I was approaching my goal, and suddenly 
found this apparent end to be only a new mountain against 
which I stumbled. So I went on, particularly when the 
principles and laws of physical mechanism began to become 
clearer to me, I thought directly it needed 110 more than 
simply to use them in the branches of instruction, which the 
experience of ages has put into the hands of the human race, 
for the development of the faculties, and these I looked upon 
as the elements of all art and knowledge, i.e. reading, writing, 
arithmetic, etc. 

But as I tried to do this, increasing experience gradually 

84 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

developed the conviction that these branches of instruction 
cannot be regarded as the elements of all art and of all 
knowledge. On the contrary, they must be subordinate to 
far more general views of the subject. But the consciousness 
of this truth, so important for instruction, which was 
developed by working in these branches, appeared to me, 
for a long time, in isolated glimpses only; and then only in 
connection with the special branch with which each separate 
experience was connected. 

\ Thus I found, in teaching to read, the necessity of its sub- 
Ordination to the power of talking; and in the endeavour 

< to find a means of teaching children to talk, I came on 
/ the principle of joining this art to the sequences by which 

/ Nature rises from sound to word, and from word, gradually 

| to language. 

Again, I found in the effort to teach writing, the need of 
subordinating this art to that of drawing, and in the efforts 
/ to teach drawing the combination with, and subordination 
of, this art to that of measurement. Also teaching spelling 
developed in me the want of a book for early childhood, 
through which I trusted to raise the actual knowledge of 
three and four year old children, above the knowledge of 
seven and eight year old school-children. These experiences 
that I learned practically, led me indeed to isolated helps in 
instruction, but at the same time made me feel that I did not 
yet know the true scope and inner depth of my subject. 

I long sought for a common psychological origin for all 
these arts of instruction, because I was convinced, that only 
through this, it might be possible to discover the form, * 
in which the perfecting of mankind is determined through 
the very laws of Nature itself. It is evident this form is 
founded on the general organization of the mind, by means 
of which our igrtoll^st binds together in imagination, the 
impressions which are received by the senses from Nature, 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 85 

into a whole, that is into an idea, and gradually unfolds this 

idea clearly. ^a^A-^-i 

/ "Every line, every measure, every word," said I to myself 
\ " is a result of intellect that is produced by ripened sense- 
( impressions and must be regarded as a means towards the 

progressive clearing up of our ideas." Also, all instruction 

is essentially nothing but this. Its principles must there} 

fore be derived from the immutable typical form of human , -&j? 


Everything depends on the exact knowledge of this 
prototype. I therefore, once more began to keep my eye 
on these beginning-points, from which it must be derived. 

" The world," said I in this reverie, " lies before our eyes 
like a sea of confused sense-impressions, flowing one into the 
other. If our development, through Nature only, is not 
sufficiently rapid and unimpeded, the business of instruction 
is to remove the confusion of these sense-impressions ; to 
separate the objects one from another; to put together in 
imagination those that resemble or are related to each other, 
and in this way to make all clear to. us, and by perfect clear 
ness in these, to raise in us distinct, ideas. It does this 
when it presents these confused and blurred sense-impres 
sions to us one by one ; then places these separate sense- 
impressions in different changing positions before our eyes ; 
and lastly, brings them into connection with the whole cycle 
of our previous knowledge. 

So our learning grows from confusion to definiteness; 
from definiteness to plainness ; and from plainness to perfect 

But Nature, in her progress towards this development, is 
constant to the great law, that makes the Clearness of my 
knowledge depend on the nearness or distance of the object 
in touch with my senses. All that surrounds you reaches 
your senses, ceteris paribus, confused and difficult to make 

86 Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

clear to yourself in proportion to its distance from your 
senses ; on the contrary, everything that reaches your senses 
is distinct and easy for you to make clear and plain, in pro 
portion as it approaches your five senses. 

You are, as a physical living being, nothing but your five 
senses ; consequently the clearness or mistiness of your ideas 
must absolutely and essentially rest upon the nearness or 
distance with which all external objects touch these five 
senses, that is, yourself, the centre, because your ideas con 
verge in you. 

You, yourself, are the centre of all your sense-impres 
sions, you are also yourself an object for your sense-impres 
sions. It is easier to make all that is within you clear and 
plain than all that is without you. All that you feel of your 
self is in itself a definite sense-impression : only that which 
/ is without can be a confused sense-impression for you. It 
| follows that the course of your knowledge, in so far as it 
i touches yourself, is a step shorter than when it comes from 
something outside yourself. 

All that you know of yourself, you know clearly; all that 
you yourself know is in you, and in itself clear through you. 
It follows that this road to clear ideas is easier and safer in 
this direction than in any other; and among all that is clear 
nothing can be clearer than this principle man's knowledge 
of truth comes from his knowledge of himself. 

Friend ! Living but vague ideas of the elements of 
instruction whirled about in my mind for a long time in 
this way. So I depicted them in my Report without at that 
time being able to discover the unbroken connection be 
tween them and the laws of physical mechanism ; 2 and 
without being able to define, with certainty, the beginning- 
points from which the sequences of our views of the Art 
should proceed, or rather the form by which it might be 
possible to determine the improvement of mankind through 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 87 

/his own essential nature. At last, suddenly, like a Deus ex 

\ machind, came the thought the means of making clear all 

\ knowledge gained by sense-impression comes from number, 

/ form and language. It suddenly seemed to throw a new 

1 light on what I was trying to do. t 

Now after my long struggle, or rather my wandering 

reverie, I aimed wholly and simply at finding out how a 

cultivated man behaves, and must behave, when he wishes 

to distinguish any object which appears misty and confused 

to his eyes, and gradually to make it clear to himself. 

In this case he will observe three things : 

1. How many, and what kinds of objects are before him. 

2. Their appearance, form or outline. * 

3. Their names ; how he may represent each of them by 
a sound or word. 

The result of this action in such a man manifestly pre 
supposes the following ready-formed powers. 

1. The power of recognising unlike objects, according to 
the outline, and of representing to oneself what is 
contained within it. 

2. That of stating the number of these objects, and 
representing them to himself as one or many. 

3. That of representing objects, their number and form, 
by speech, and making them unforgetable. 

I also thought number, form and language are, together, 
the elementary means of instruction, because the whole sum 
of the external properties of any object is comprised in its 
outline and its number, and is brought home to rny con 
sciousness through language. It must then be an immutable 
law of the Art to start from and work within this threefold 

1. To teach children to look upon every object that is 
brought before them as a unit, that is, as separated 
from those with which it seems connected. 

88 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

2. To teach them the form of every object, that is, its 
size and proportions. 

3. As soon as possible to make them acquainted with all 
I the words and names descriptive of objects known to 


And as the instruction of children should proceed from 
these three elementary points, it is evident that the first 
efforts of the Art should be directed to the primary faculties 
of counting, measuring, and speaking, which lie at the basis 
of all accurate knowledge of objects of sense. We should 
cultivate them with the strictest psychological Art, endeavour 
to strengthen and make them strong, and to bring them, as 
a means of development and culture, to the highest pitch 
of simplicity, consistency, and harmony. 

The only difficulty which struck me in the recognition of 
these elements was the question : Why are all qualities of 
things that we know through our five senses, not just as 
much elements of knowledge as number, form, and names ? 
/ But I soon found that all possible objects have absolutely 
number, form, and names ; but the other characteristics, 
known through our five senses, are not common to all objects.^ 
I found then, such an essential and definite distinction be 
tween the number, form, and names of things and their other 
qualities, that I could not regard other qualities as element^ 
of human knowledge. Again, I found that all other 
qualities can be included under these elements; that con 
sequently, in instructing children, all other qualities of 
objects must be immediately connected with form, number^ 
and names. I saw now that through knowing the unityJ 
form, and name of any object, my knowledge of it becomes 
precise ; by gradually learning its other qualities my 
knowledge of it becomes clear] through my consciousness 
of all its characteristics, my knowledge of it becomes dis 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 89 

Then I found, further, that all our knowledge flows from 
three elementary powers. 

1. From the power of making sounds, the origin of 

2. From the indefinite, simple sensuous-power of form 
ing images, out of which arises the consciousness of 
all forms. 

3. From the definite, no longer merely sensuous-power 
of imagination, from which must be derived con 
sciousness of unity,' and with it the power of calcu 
lation and arithmetic. 

I thought, then, that the art of educating our race must be 
joined to the first and simplest results of these three primary 
powers sound, form, and number ; and that instruction in 
separate parts can never have a satisfactory effect upon our 
nature as a whole, if these three simple results of our primary 
powers are not recognised as the common starting-point of 
all instruction, determined by Nature herself. In conse 
quence of this recognition, they must be fitted into forms 
which flow universally and harmoniously from the results of 
these three elementary powers, and which tend, essentially 
and surely, to make all instruction a steady, unbroken de 
velopment of these three elementary powers, used together 
and considered equally important. In this way only, is it 
possible to lead us in all three branches, from vague to pre 
cise sense-impressions, from precise sense-impressions to clear 
images, and from clear images to distinct ideas. 

Here at last, I find the Art in general and essential har 
mony with Nature, or rather, with the prototype by which 
Nature makes clear to us the objects of the world, in their 
essence, and utmost simplicity. The problem is solved : How 
to find a common origin of all methods and arts of instruc 
tion, and ivith it a form by which the development of our 
race might be decided through the essence of our own very 

QO How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

nature. The difficulties are removed of applying mechanical 
laws, which I recognised as the foundation of all human in 
struction, to the form of instruction which the experience 
of ages has put into the hands of mankind for the develop 
ment of the race ; that is, to apply them to reading, writing, 
arithmetic, and so on. 


The first elementary means of instruction is, then, 

This leads to the following special means of instruction : 

I. Sound teaching* or training the organs of speech. 
II. Word teaching, or teaching about single objects. 
III. Language teaching, or the means whereby we ar' 
led to express ourselves accurately about well knov 
objects, and about all we know of them. 


Is divided into teaching sounds spoken, and sounds su^ v 


In regard to these, We cannot leave it to chance \ M be- 
they be brought to the child's ear sooner or later, cc-her 
or separately. It is important that they reach his com *<s. 
ness in their whole compass as early as possible. 

This consciousness should be perfect in him before his 
power of speech is formed ; and the power of repeating them 
easily should be complete before the forms of letters are put 
\ before his eyes, or the first reading lessons begun. 

The Spelling Book 2 must therefore contain all the sounds 
of which speech consists, and these should, in every family, 
be brought to the ear of the child in the cradle, be deeply 
impressed and made unforgetable by constant repetition. 3 
even before he is able to utter a single one. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 91 

No one can imagine, for it is not seen, how the utterance 
of these simple sounds, ba ba ba, da da da, ma ma ma, la 
la la, etc., may rouse the observation of infants and please 
them ; nor what can be gained for the general power of 
learning in children, by the early knowledge of these sounds. 

* In consequence of this principle of the importance of 
consciousness of sounds and tones before the child can imitate 
them, and of the conviction that the kind of objects and pic 
tures that lie before the eyes of the infant can be as little a 
matter of indifference, as the sounds that are brought to his 
ears, I have prepared a book for mothers, in which I have, not 
only represented by illuminated woodcuts the beginningS-of 
number and form, but also the other most essential charac 
teristics in objects, which our five senses make evident to us. 
Through a knowledge of many names, thus strengthened and 
enlivened by all sorts of observation, I prepare for and make 
his future reading easy, just as, by making impressions of 
sounds precede letters, I prepare for, and make this work 

^easy'for the child, at this same age. By means of this book 
make these sounds at home in his head, if I may so express 
ivself, before he can utter* a syllable. 

I will accompany these tables of sense-impression for 
earlier childhood, with a book of methods, in which every 
d that the child should use about the object represented, 
is expressed so exactly that even the most unpractised mother 
can work sufficiently for my purpose, because she need not 
add a word to what I say. 

Thus, by means of the book prepared for mothers, and 
by constantly hearing the sounds in the Spelling Book, the 

* These attempts were afterwards found to be superfluous, owing ct 
a deeper knowledge of the psychological course of development and 
the gradation in the foundation of our knowledge, and were no longer 
used. This whole statement must be regarded as only a vague 
aspiration towards methods of education, about the nature of which 
I was far from clear. Pestalozzi. 

92 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

child, as soon as his organs of speech are formed, must be 
accustomed to imitate a few of the sounds of the Spelling 
Book, several times a day, with just the same playful ease, 
with which he imitates purposeless sounds. 

This book differs from all preceding books in this : Its 
form of teaching proceeds generally from the vowels, which 
can be apprehended by the pupil himself. Adding consonants 
one, by _ojie 7 before and after the syllables, evidently makes 
the art of reading and pronouncing more easy. 

This was our way. After every vowel we added on one 
consonant after another, from & to 2, and so first formed the 
simple easy syllables, ad ab a/, etc., then put those conso 
nants before these simple syllables which actually accom 
pany them in ordinary speech. 

For example 

a&, b, g, shj s, b, ab, 

gi ab > 
sh, ab, 
st, ab, etc. 

So we formed first easy syllables, by simply adding con 
sonants to all the vowels, and afterwards more difficult 
words, by the addition of more syllables. This ensures a 
constant repetition of simple sounds, and an orderly putting 
together of syllables resembling each other, from having a 
common basis. This gives an unforgetable impression of 
their sound, and makes learning to read very easy. 
The special advantages of this book are 

1. The children are kept so long at exercises in spelling 

syllables, that their faculties are sufficiently formed 
in this direction. 

2. That by the use of similar sounds, the repetition of the 

same form is made pleasant to the children, and in 
this way, the object of making an indelible impres 
sion is more easily attained. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 93 

3. That it helps the children very quickly to pronounce at 
a glance any new word that is formed, by adding 
single consonants to others that are well known, 
without being obliged to spell it ; and afterwards to 
be able to learn to spell these compound words by 
heart. This makes writing them correctly afterwards 
very easy. 

In the short directions for using this book given in the 
preface, mothers are asked to pronounce to the children 
before they can speak, these sequences of sounds several 
times every day, and in different ways, in order to rouse their 
observation, and to accustom them to these sounds. This 
pronouncing must be carried on with redoubled zeal, and be 
begun again from the beginning, as soon as the children be 
gin to talk, in order to induce them to imitate, and thereby 
teach them to talk quickly. 

In order to make the knowledge of letters, which must 
precede spelling, easy to the children, I have added large 
printed letters to the book, so that the children can better 
observe the differences between them. 

These letters are, each one separately, glued upon stiff 
paper, and given to the child one by one, We begin with 
the different vowels, painted red, which they must know 
perfectly, and be able to pronounce, before we can go farther. 
Afterwards they are shown the consonants one__bv_jQiie T but 
alwaysTn connection with a vowel, because they cannot be 
pronounced alone. 

As soon as the children, partly by means of these special 
exercises, partly by means of real spelling (of which I will 
bpeak directly) have begun to be tolerably acquainted with 
the letters, we can change them for the threefold letters, 
also accompanying this book, on which, over the German 
printed letters (that may now be smaller) stand German, 
v written letters, and under them Roman letters. Then let 

94 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

the child spell every syllable with the middle form already 
known to him, and repeat it in the other two; so without 
losing time he learns to read the threefold alphabet. 

The fundamental rule of spelling is that all syllables are 
only additions, by means of consonants, to the original sound 
of a vowel ; and that the vowel is always the foundation of 
the syllable. This vowel also will be first laid down, or put on 
the hanging board (which should have a groove on its upper 
and lower edge for the letters to stand in, and in which they 
can easily be shifted about). This vowel will, according to 
the guide, gradually have consonants added before and after 
a ab b ab g db, and so on. Then every syllable should 
be pronounced by the teacher and repeated by the children, 
until they cannot forget it. Then the letters are repeated 
in and out of their order (the first, the third, and so on), then 
syllables, which are hidden from them, are spelt by heart. 

It is particularly necessary, in the first paragraphs of the 
book, to proceed very slowly, and never to go on to anything 
new, until the old is indelibly impressed upon the children 
because this is the foundation of all instruction in reading^ 
all that follows is built upon it by small and gradual addi 

When the children have reached a certain readiness in 
spelling in this manner, we can change it for other methods. 
For example, we can put the letters of a word one after the 
other until it is complete, and let each of the letters be 
spoken alone and together with the next, e.g., G Ga Gar 
Gard Garde Garden Gardene Gardener. Then, by 
taking away the letters one by one, go back in the same way, 
and repeat these again and again, until the children can 
spell the word perfectly by heart. We can, in this way, 
spell the word backwards. 

At last the word is divided into syllables, and each is pro 
nounced in and out of its order according to its number. Onr 

How Gertrude TeacJies Her Children. 95 

special advantage for school instruction is that the children 
may be accustomed from the beginning to pronounce, all to 
gether, and at the same moment, every sound that is given 
them, or that which they are called upon to pronounce by the 
number of the letter or syllable, so that sounds uttered by 
all are heard as one sound. This makes the art of teaching 
quite mechanical, and works with incredible force upon the 
children's senses. 

When these spelling exercises on the board are quite 
finished, the book can be put into the child's hands as his 
first reading book and used till he can read perfectly easily 
in it. 

So much for teaching sounds spoken. I shall now say a 
word about teaching singing sounds. But since song proper 
cannot be regarded as a means of rising from vague sense im 
pressions to clear ideas, but rather as a faculty that must be 
developed at another time, and for another purpose, I will put 
off treating it till I take a bird's-eye view of education. I 
shall only say here, that, according to the general principle, 
the teaching of singing should begin with the simplest ; com 
plete this, and only gradually proceed from one complete step 
to the beginning of a new exercise ; and it should never tend 
through an unfounded belief in the stability of the founda 
tion, to check or confuse the faculties. 4 


The second special means of instruction flowing from the 
power of making sounds, or the elementary method of sound, 


I have already said, the child must receiyft fri 

in this direction, from the Mother's Book. 5 This is so 

arranged, that "the most important objects of the world, 

96 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

especially those which, like race, and kind, include a whole 
series of objects, should be all spoken about, and mothers 
made able to make the child quite familiar with their right 
names, so that the children are prepared, from the earliest 
age, for name-teaching that is, for the second special 
method of instruction, founded upon the power of making 

This name-teaching consists of lists of names of the most 
important objects in all divisions of the kingdom of nature, 
history, geography, human callings and relations. These 
lists of words are given to the child simply as exercises in 
reading, immediately after the completion of his Spelling 
Book ; and experience has shown me, that it is possible to 
bring the children to learn these lists of names perfectly by 
heart, in the time which is given to complete their power of 
reading. The gain to the children at this time, of so wide 
and complete a knowledge of so many and such comprehensive 
lists of names, is immense for making later instruction easier, 
[and is only to be regarded as the chaotic collection of 
materials for a house that will be built later.] 


The third special means of instruction, based on the power 
of making sounds, is 


And here I arrive at the point at which the special form 
begins to disclose itself, according to which the Art, by 
using the special characteristic of our race, language, can 
keep pace with the course of Nature, in our development. 
But what do I say ? The form discloses itself, by which 
man, according to the will of the Creator, should take the 
instruction of our race out of the hands of blind and senseless 
Nature, and put it into the guidance of those better powers, 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 97 

which he has developed in himself for ages. The form dis 
closes itself, independent, like the human race, by which man 
can give a precise and comprehensive direction to, and hasten 
the development of, these faculties, for whose development 
Nature has given him powers and means, but no guidance. 
This she can never give, because he is man. The form 
unfolds itself by which man can do all this, without destroy 
ing the loftiness and simplicity of the course of physical 
nature, or the harmony our physical development always 
has, or robbing ourselves, by a single fraction of a hair, of 
that uniform care that mother Nature confers upon our 
physical development. 

All this must be aimed at through the perfect art of 
language-teaching, and the highest psychology, in order 
to bring the mechanism of nature's march from confused 
sense-impressions to clear ideas, to the greatest perfection. 
This I am far from being able to do, and T feel verily like 
the voice of one crying in the wilderness. 

But the Egyptian who first bound the bent shovel to the 
horns of the ox, and so taught it the work of the digger, 
led the way to the discovery of the plough, though he did 
not bring it to perfection. 

Let my merit be only the bending the shovel, and binding 
it to a new horn. But why do I speak in parables ? I will 
say what I want to say straight out, without beating about 
the bush. 

I would take school instruction out of the hands of the old 
order of decrepit, stammering, journey men- tea chers r as well 
as from the new weak ones, who are generally no better for 
popular instruction, and entrust it to the undivided powers 
of Nature herself, to the light that God kindles and ever 
keeps alive in the hearts of fathers and mothers, to the 
interest of parents who desire that their children should 
grow up in favour with God and man, 


9 8 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

But in order to define the form, or rather, the different 
methods of teaching language by which we can attain to this 
purpose, that is, by which we must be led, in order to be 
able to express ourselves clearly about objects that are 
becoming known to us, and all that we can learn about 
them, we must ask ourselves : 

1. What is the end of language for man? 

2. What are the means, or rather, what is the course of 

progress by which nature leads us to this end, by 
the gradual development of the art of speaking ? 

1. The final end of language is obviously to lead our 

race from vague sense-impressions to clear ideas. 

2. The means, by which it leads us gradually towards 

this end, unquestionably follow in this order : 
a. We recognize every object as a whole, or gener 
ally ; name it as a unit i.e. as one object. 
&. We gradually become acquainted with its cha 
racteristics and learn to name them. 
C. We acquire, through language, the power of 
denning the qualities of things by verbs and 
adverbs, and to make the changes, caused by 
change of condition, clear to ourselves, by 
altering the words themselves and their ar 
I. I have spoken above of the steps to be taken to learn 

to name objects. 
II. Steps to learn and to name the qualities of objects 

divide themselves into 

a. Teaching the child to express himself clearly 
about number and form. Number and form, 
being the special elementary properties of 
all things, are the two comprehensive general 
abstractions of physical nature, on which all 
other means of making our ideas clear depend. 

How Gertrude Teaches ^ r Children. 101 

b. Teaching the child to expre. 

about all the other qualities oi- St 
form and number (about those tnau 
through our five senses as well as those ti^ 
we learn, not by simple sense-impression, but 
through our powers of imagination and judg 

The primary physical generalizations, number and form, 
that we have in accordance with the experience of ages, by 
using our five senses, learned to abstract from the qualities 
of things, must be early and familiarly brought to the child, 
not only as inherent characteristics of special things, but as 
physical generalizations. He must not only be able early to 
call a round or square thing, round or square, but he must, as 
soon as possible, be impressed with the idea of roundness or 
squareness as a unity, as a pure abstraction. This will 
enable him to connect all that he meets in nature round, 
square, simple, or complex, with the exact word that ex 
presses this idea. Here also we see the reason why language 
must be considered as a means of expressing form and 
number, as distinguished from the way in which we may 
regard it as a means of expressing all the other qualities of 
objects, that Nature teaches us through our five senses. 

I therefore begin, in the book for early childhood, to lead 
the children to a clear consciousness of these generalizations. 
This book contains a comprehensive survey of the ordinary 
methods, as well as the simplest way, of making the child 
understand the first properties of numbers. 

Farther steps towards this end must, like the language- 
exercises, be reserved for a later time, and be connected 
with the special treatment of number and form. These, as 
elements of our knowledge, must be considered after a com 
plete survey of the exercises in language. 

The illustrations of the first instruction-book, the Mother's 

98 How Gertnfa Teaches Her Children. 

But in order t are in all their Var i et y 7 S o chosen, that 

methods of teac sical generalizations that are learnt through 

purpose, k ensegj are spoken of, and mothers are enabled 

$ make the child familiarly acquainted with the most 

exact expressions, without any trouble to themselves. 

But in whatever relates to those qualities of things that 
are learnt not directly through our five senses, but through 
the intervention of our powers of comparison, imagination, 
and abstraction, I stick to my principle, of making no kind 
of human judgment apparently prematurely ripe ; but I use 
the unavoidable knowledge of such abstract words, as 
children of this age possess, merely as memory work, and 
as easy food for their fancy and power of guessing. 

On the other hand, in respect to objects that can be learnt 
directly through our five senses, I take the following measures 
to enable the child to express himself accurately as soon 
as possible. 

I take substantives distinguished by striking character 
istics, known through our five senses, out of the dictionary 
and put the adjectives that express these characteristics next 
to them. For example : 

Eel, slippery, worm-like, leather-skinned. 

Carrion, dead, stinking. 
Evening, quiet, bright, cool, rainy. 
Axle, strong, weak, greasy. 

Field, sandy, loamy, manured, fertile, profitable, 
t . unprofitable. 

Then I invert the process, and find adjectives that describe 
the striking characteristics of objects, learnt through our 
senses ; then I put the substantive that has the characteristic 
described by the adjective next to it. For example : 
, Round, ball, hat, moon, sun. 
Light, feather, down, air. 
Heavy, gold, lead, oak-wood. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 101 

Warm, stoves, summer days, flame. 

High, towers, mountains, trees, giants. 

Deep, seas, lakes, cellars, graves. 

Soft, flesh, wax, butter. 

Elastic, steel springs, whalebone, etc. 

I try, however, in no way to lessen the free play of the 
child's individual thought by the completeness of these 
illustrations, but only give a few illustrative facts that strike 
his mind, and ask directly : * " What else do you know like 
this ? " In most cases, the children find new facts within 
the sphere of their experience, and very often some that 
would not occur to the teacher. In this way the circle of 
their knowledge is made wider and more exact, than^ it 
could ever be through catechizing, or at least only by a 
hundredfold more skill and trouble. 

In all catechising the child is fettered, partly by the limits 
of the precise idea about which he is catechized, partly by 
the form in which he is catechized, and lastty, but certainly, 
by the limits of the teacher's knowledge, and still more by 
the teacher's anxious care that he should not be drawn \, 
beyond the circle of his knowledge. Friend ! what terrible t ' 
barriers for the child, that have been wholly removed by my 

This done, I try to make the child, who is in many ways 
acquainted with objects of the world, still more clear about 
the objects so far known to him, by the further use of the 

For tliis purpose I divide this great witness of a former 
age uTider four headings. 

1. Descriptive Geography. 

2. History. 

3. Physical science. \ 

4. Natural history. 

* This question is repeated in Ed. I. 

IO2 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

But to avoid unnecessary repetition of the same word, and 
to make the form of teaching as short as possible,!! divide 
these principal sections into forty sub-divisions, and show the 
children the names of objects in these sub-divisions only. 

Then I consider the principal object of my sense-impression, 
myself, or rather the whole series of names that indicate 
myself in language ; while I bring what the great witness of 
the ancients, language, says about men, under the following 

First head : 

What does it say of man, regarded as a mere physical 
being, in relation to the animal kingdom ? 

Second head : 

What does it say of him, as striving upwards through the 
social state to independence ? 

Third head : 

What does it say of him as struggling upwards, through 
the forces of his heart, mind, and skill, to a view of himself 
and his surroundings higher than the animal's ? 6 

I divide these three heads into forty sub-divisions, and 
| only bring them before the children in these sub-divisions.* 

The first arrangement in these series, in both departments, 
about men, as well as material objects, should be simply 
alphabetical, without any meaning. They are to be used 
simply for making things gradually clear, by putting similar 
sense-impressions, and ideas gained by sense-impressions, 

When this is done, when the witness of the ancisnts has 
been thus used to put all that exists into simple alphabetical 
order, the second question arises, 

How does the Art arrange these objects later, after closer 
inspection ? Then a new work begins. The same series 

* All these attempts were subsequently abandoned as the results of 
immature opinions. P. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 103 

of words that the child knows perfectly well up to the 
seventieth or eightieth row, merely alphabetically, must now 
be shown him anew, in all these sub-divisions, and in all the 
classifications by which these subdivisions are further 
artificially divided, and he must be enabled to form sequences 
for himself, and to arrange them after the following plan. 

The different classes, into which the objects are divided, 
are put at the head of each column, and indicated by num 
bers, abbreviations, or other convenient signs. 

In the first reading lesson, the child must thoroughly learn 
the different classes of the principal divisions, and then, if 
he finds in the series of words the sign of the class to which 
it belongs, he is able at the first glance to see to which class 
the object belongs, and so, by himself, to change the alpha- 
bstical into a scientific nomenclature. 

I do not know whether it is necessary to make the matter 
clearer by an example ; it seems almost superfluous ; but I 
will do it in consequence of the novelty of the form. One of 
the sub-divisions of Europe is Germany. Now the children 
are first made perfectly familiar with the division of Germany 
into 10 circles. Then the towns of Germany are first put 
before them, in reading, in alphabetical order ; but afterwards 
every town is indicated by the number of the circle to which 
it belongs. As soon as they can readily read these towns, 
they learn the connection between these numbers and the 
sub-divisions of the chief headings, and, in a few hours the 
child is able to arrange the whole series of German towns 
according to the sub-divisions of the principal headings. 

When, for example, he sees the following German towns 
with their numbers : 

Aachen, 8. Acken, 10. Aigremont, 8. 

Aalen, 3. Adersbach, 11. Ala, 1. 

Abenberg, 4. Agler, 1. Allenbach, 5. 

Aberthran, 11. Ahrbergen, 10. Allendorf, 5. 

IO4 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Allersperg, 2. Altenburg, 9. Alkerdissen, 8. 

Alschaufen, 3. Altensalza, 10. Amberg, 2. 

Alsleben, 10. Altkirchen, 8. . Ambras,!. 

Altbunzlau, 11. Altona, 10. Amoneburg, 6. 

Altena, 8. Altorf, 1. Andernacb, 6, 

Altenau, 10. Altranstadt, 9. 

Altenberg, 9. Altwasser, 13. 

he uses them in the following way. 

Aachen is in the Westphalian circle. Abenberg in the 
Franconian circle. Acken in the Lower Saxon circle, etc. 

So the child is enabled, at the first glance at the number 
or sign which belongs to the heading, to determine to what 
class every word of this series belongs and, as I said, to turn 
the alphabetical into a scientific nomenclature. 

And here I find myself on the boundary where my own 
work ends, and where the powers of my children should have 
reached a point when they should be able in any kind of 
knowledge to which their inclination leads them, to use, in 
dependently, such helps as already exist ; but which are of 
such a nature, that until now, only a privileged few could 
use them. So far, and no further do I wish to come. I did 
not and do not wish to teach the world art and science ; I 
know none. 1 did and do wish to make the learning of the 
first beginning-points easy for the common people, who are 
forsaken and left to run wild ; to open the doors of art, which 
are the doors of manliness, to the poor and woftk of the land ; 
and if I can, to set fire to the barrier that keeps the humbler 
citizens of Europe, in respect to that individual power 
which is the foundation of all true art, far behind the 
barbarians of the south and north, because, in the midst of 
our vaunted and valued general enlightenment, it shuts out 
one man in ten from the social rights of men, from the right 
to be educated, or at least from the possibility of using that 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 105 

May this barrier burn above my grave in blazing flames. 

Now indeed I know that I only lay a weak coal in dank 

wet straw but I see a wind, no longer afar off, and it will fan 

the coal ; gradually the wet straw round me will be dried, 

will become warm, will kindle and burn. Yes, Gessner ! 

however wet it is now round me, it will burn, it will burn ! 

But while I see myself so far advanced in the second 

special method of teaching language, I find I have not yet 

I touched upon the third method, that should lead to the final 

end of education the clearing-up of our ideas. 

c. Teaching the child to distinguish clearly by 
speech, the connection of objects with each 
other, in their varying conditions of number, 
time, and proportion ; or rather to make still 
clearer the nature, properties, and powers of 
all objects that we have already learned to 
know by name, and have, to some degree, 
made clear by putting together their names 
and qualities. 

Here the foundations on which real grammar should rest, 
appear, and in this way progress will be made towards the 
final end of education the clearing up of ideas. 

Here also I prepare the children for the first step by a 
very simple but psychological instruction in speech. With 
out letting fall a word about forms and rules, let the mother 
first repeat before the child simple sentences only, as exer 
cises. These should be imitated, as much for the sake of 
exercising the organs of speech, as for the sake of the 
sentences themselves. We must clearly distinguish between 
these two objects exercise in pronunciation, and learning 
words as language ; and practise the first by itself, independ 
ently of the second. When the meaning and pronunciation 
are understood, the mother should repeat the following kinds 
of sentences : 

ioo How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Father is kind. 

The butterfly has gay wings. 

The cow eats grass. 

The fir has a straight stem. 

When the child has said these sentences so often that the 
repetition is easy to him, the mother asks : Who is kind ? 
What has gay wings? And then backwards: What is 
father ? What has the butterfly ? etc. 

And then she goes on : 

Who or what are ? 

Beasts of prey are flesh-eating. 

Stags are light of foot. 

The roots are wide-spreading. 

Who or what has ? What has he or it ? 
The lion has strength. 
Man has reason. 
The dog has a good nose. 
The elephant has a trunk. 

Who or ivhat have ? What have they ? 
Plants have roots. 
Fish have fins. 
Birds have wings. 
Cattle have horns. 

Who wishes ? What docs he wish ? 
The hungry man wishes to eat. 
The creditor wishes to be paid. 
The prisoner wishes to be free. 

Who wish ? What do they wish ? 
Sensible people wish for what is right. 
Foolish people wish for what they fancy. 
Children wish to play. 
Tired people wish to rest. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 107 

Who or what can f What can he or it do ? 
The fish can swim. 
The bird can fly. 
The cat can climb. 
The squirrel can jump. 
The ox can toss. 
The horse can kick. 

Who can ? What can they do ? 
Tailors can sew. 
Donkeys can carry. 
Oxen can plough. 
Pigs can grunt. 
Men can talk. 
Dogs can bark. 
Lions can roar. 
Bears can growl. 
Larks can sing. 

Who or what must be ? What must they be ? 

The draught-ox must be harnessed. 

The horse must be ridden. 

The ass must be loaded. 

The cow must be milked. 

The pig must be killed. 

The hare must be hunted. 

The right must be done. 

Laws must be obeyed. 

Who or ivhat must do f What must they do ? 
Raindrops must fall. 
Fettered men must go together. 
The vanquished must submit. 
Debtors must pay. 

Thus I go on through all the declensions and conjugations, 

io8 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

connecting this second step immediately with the first, and 
particularly dwelling upon the verbs, according to a plan of 
which I gave the following examples. 

Verb and object simply connected. 
Attend to the teacher's words. 
Breathe through the lungs. 
Fell a tree. 
Bind a sheaf, etc. 

Then follows the second exercise in putting verbs to 

To tend. I tend the sheep. I attend to the teacher's 
words, to my duty and my property ; * I attend to my duty 
and my work. I contend against wrong. I do not pretend 
to be better than I am. I extend my possessions. I intend 
to buy a house. I must superintend those men. So far as a 
child pays attention to anything, he is attentive or inat 

Breathe. I breathe hard, lightly, quickly, slowly. I 
breathe again, if I have lost my breath and recovered it. 
I breathe air in. The dying man breathes his last. 

Then I go on and repeat these exercises with . gradually 
extending additions, and so get to more complicated and 
descriptive sentences, e.g. 
I shall. 

I shall preserve. 

I shall preserve my health in no other way. 

After all that I have suffered I shall preserve my health 
in no other way. 

After all that I suffered in my illness, I shall preserve my 
health in no other way, 

After all that I suffered in my illness, I shall preserve my 
health in no other way than by moderation. 

* Literal translation impossible; an illustration is attempted. 
L. E. H. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 109 

After all that I have suffered in my illness, I shall preserve 

my health in no other way than by the greatest moderation. 

After all that I have suffered in my illness, I shall preserve 

my health in no other way than by the greatest moderation 

and regularity. 

After all that I suffered in my illness, I shall preserve my 
health in no other way than by the greatest moderation and 
general regularity. 

All these sentences should be separately repeated in all the 
persons of the verb, e.g. 
I shall preserve. 
Thou shalt preserve. 
He shall preserve, etc. 
I shall preserve my health. 
Thou shalt preserve thy health, etc. 
The same sentences should be repeated in other tenses. 
I have preserved. 
Thou hast preserved, etc. 

With these sentences, thus deeply impressed .upon the 
children, we take care to choose those that are particularly 
instructive, stimulating and suitable to their special case. 

With these I give examples of descriptions of real objects, 
in order to strengthen and use the power given to the chil 
dren by these exercises. 
For example 

A bell is a wide, thick, round bowl, open below, usually 
hanging free, growing narrower towards the top, rounded 
above like an egg, and having in the middle a vertical and 
freely hanging clapper, that by a quick movement of the bowl 
is knocked from side to side, thus producing a sound we call 

To walk is to move on step by step. 

To stand is to rest upon the legs, with the body uprigh t 
or vertical. 

1 1 o How Gertrude Teaches 'Her Children. 

To lie is to rest on something, with the body in a hori 
zontal position. 

To sit is to rest on something, in such a position that the 
body makes two angles. 

To kneel is to rest on the legs when they form an angle at 
the knee. 

To courtesy is to let the body be lowered by bending the 

To bow is to bend the body forwards from an upright posi 

To climb is to move up or down by clinging with the 
hands and feet. 

To ride is to be carried sitting upon on animal. 

To drive is to be carried in a moving vehicle. 

To fall is to be forced to move from above downwards by 
one's own weight. 7 

To dig is to lift earth and turn it over with a spade. 

I should like to conclude these exercises in language with 
a legacy 8 to my pupils, after my death. In this I put 
down as they occur to me, significant verbs which, at the 
most critical moments of my life, especially attract my 
attention to the subjects which they indicate. By this ex 
ercise I try to connect these verbs with truths about life, 
living knowledge gained by sense-impression, and soul-in 
spiring thoughts about all that men do and suffer, e.g. 9 

To breathe. Man ! thy life hangs upon a breath. When 
thou snortest like a madman, and swallowest the pure air of 
earth like poison into thy lungs what dost thou but hasten 
to make thyself breathless and to deliver from thy snorting 
the men annoyed by it. 

To improve the soil. In order to improve the soil, the 
earth was divided. Thus property arose, the right to which 
is only to be found in this purpose, and can never be opposed 
to it. But if the State allows to the proprietor or itself, an 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 1 1 1 

oppressive power over human nature, in opposition to this 
purpose, feelings are developed in the injured masses, the 
bad consequences of which can only be averted by a wise 
return to the spirit of the original limitations of the purpose, 
for the sake of which the earth, freely given by God to man, 
was divided by him into special plots. 10 

To express. Thou art angry because thou canst not always 
express thyself as thou wouldst. Do not be angry that thou 
art forced, even against thy will, to take time to become 

But it is time I ended this subject 

I have dwelt long upon language as a means of gradually 
making our ideas clear. It is indeed the first means. 
My method of instruction is particularly distinguished in 
this : it makes greater use of language as a means of rais 
ing the child from vague sense-impressions to clear ideas, 
than has ever been done before. Also it is distinguished 
by the principle of excluding all collections of words, pre 
supposing actual knowledge of language or grammar, from 
the first elementary instruction. 

Whoever understands that Nature only leads from clear 
ness about the individual to clearness about the whole, will 
understand that words must be separately clear to the child, 
before they can be made clear to him when joined together. 
Whoever understands this, will throw away at once all 
previous elementary instruction-books, as such, because they 
all presuppose knowledge of language in the child before 
they have given it him. Yes, Gressner, it is remarkable, 
even the best instruction-book of the past century has for 
gotten that the child must learn to talk before we can talk 
with him ; this oversight is remarkable, but it is true. Since 
I know this, I no longer wonder that we cannot make other 
men out of the children than we do ; for we have so far for 
gotten the wisdom and goodness of the ancients as to talk to 

1 1 2 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

them [of so many and such various things] before they can 
talk. Language is an art it is an infinite art, or rather it is 
the sum total of all arts, which our race has reached. It is in 
a special sense, a giving-back of all impressions that Nature, as 
a whole, has made upon our race. Thus I use it, and try by 
the associations of its spoken sounds to bring back to the child 
the very same impressions, which these sounds formed and 
gave rise to in the human race. The gift of speech is infinite 
in itself, and becomes daily greater as it ever grows more 
perfect. It gives the child in a short time, what Nature 
needed ages, to give to mankind. We say of an ox, what 
would he be if he knew his strength ? and I say of man, 
what would he be if he [wholly] knew his power of speech 
and [wholly] used it ? 

The gap is great that has arisen in the maze, which we call 
human culture, because we have so far forgotten ourselves 
that we have not only done nothing to teach 11 humble folk to 
talk, but have made the speechless people dream their time 
away on abstract ideas, and while we made them learn empty 
words by heart, we have taught them to believe that they 
could reach real knowledge of things, and truth, in this way. 

Verily the Indians could do no more to keep 12 their lowest 
classes of people in everlasting idolatry, and in that way, to 
breed a degraded race of men as sacrifices to their idols. 

You may dispute the fact [that our lowest classes cannot 
speak, and are led astray by their apparent ability to speak] ; 
I appeal to all clergy, magistrates, to all men who live among 
people who are oppressed in the midst of entire neglect, b} 7 
such a terribly distorted paternal, sham-caref ul method, of 
teaching to speak. Let him who lives among such people 
come forward and bear witness, if he has not experienced 
how troublesome it is to get any idea into the poor creatures. 
But every one agrees about this. "Yes, yes," 13 say the 
clergy, " it is so ; when they come to us to be taught, they 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. \ \ 3 

do not understand what we say, nor we what the} r answer, 
and we get on no farther with them until they have learnt the 
answers to our questions by heart." So say the magistrates ; 
and they are right enough ; it is impossible to make their 
.justice comprehensible to these men. When they come out 
of a village, town-babblers are amazed at the want of speech 
of these people, and say, " We must have them in the house 
for years, before they even begin to understand orders given 
by word of mouth s " Talkative town-folk who have learned 
to talk and chatter a bit behind the counter, think the most 
clever and sensible of these people, stupid though they may 
be, far more stupid than they really are. Good-for-n oughts 
of every shade call out, each with his own grimace, " Lucky 
for us that it is so, trade would be worse if things were 

Friend ! men of business and all kinds of people, who have 
much to do with the lower classes in the country, for the 
sake of body and soul, express themselves alike on this 
subject. I might almost say, the people of rank in our High 
Comedy Theatre, speak thus in their boxes and stalls, about 
the condition of the people in the pit. They cannot help 
speaking so, because the people in the pit are, to a great 
degree, neglected in this respect. We cannot hide from our 
selves that the lowest Christian people of our continent must 
in many places, sink into these depths, because we, in its 

/ lower schools, for more than a century, have given to empty 
words a weight in the human mind, that not only hindered 

attention to the impressions of nature, but even destroyed - 
man's inner susceptibility to these imprsssions. I say again 
while we do this, and degrade the lower class of Europe 
into " word and clapper folk," 14 as hardly any people have 
been degraded before, we never teach them to talk. It is, 
therefore, not surprising, that the Christianity of this cen 
tury and this continent looks as it does. On the contrary, 


1 14 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

it is wonderful that good human nature, in spite of all the 
blundering of our " word and clapper " schools, has preserved 
so much inward strength as we often meet with in the 
lowest classes of the people. But, thank God ! all follies and 
all apings find at last a counterpoise in human nature 
itself, and cease to be further harmful to our race when 
error has reached the highest point that we can bear. 
Folly and error carry in every garment the seeds of their 
decay and death, truth alone, in every form, bears the seeds 
of eternal life in itself. 15 

The second element from which all human knowledge, 
according to the nature of instruction must proceed, is 


The teaching of form is preceded by the consciousness of 
the sense-impression of things having form, the artificial re 
presentations of which, for the purpose of instruction, must 
be derived partly from the nature of the observing powers, 
and partly from the definite aim of teaching itself. 

All our knowledge arises : 

1. From impressions made by everything that accident 
brings into contact with our five senses. This kind 
of sense-impression is irregular, confused, and has a 
very slow and limited scope. 

2. From all that is brought to our senses through the 
interposition of the Art, and guidance of our parents 
and teachers. This kind of sense-impression is 
naturally more or less psychologically arranged, 
according to the degree of insight and energy of the 
parents and teachers [of each child], and is also more 
comprehensive and connected. His progress also, 
towards the end and aim of instruction, clear ideas, 
is in the same degree more or less rapid and safe. 

3. From my will, [based on, and kept alive by the self- 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 115 

activity of all my faculties] ; from my strong desire 
to obtain notions, knowledge and ability ; and from 
spontaneous efforts towards gaining sense-impres 
sions. This kind of knowledge gained by sense-im 
pression gives intrinsic value to our notions and 
brings us nearer to moral self-active education, by 
forming in us an independent vitality for the results 
of our sense-impressions. 

4. From the results of effort, work at one's calling, 
and all kinds of activity, the object of which is not 
merely sense-impression. This manner of gaining 
knowledge connects my sense-impressions with my 
conditions and position, and brings the results into 
harmony with my efforts towards duty and virtue. 
It has, through the necessity of its course, as well 
as through its results, the most important influence 
on the accuracy, continuity, and harmony of my 
insight, as well as on the purpose aimed at making 
ideas clear. 

5. Lastly, by analogy. Knowledge gained by sense- 
impression teaches me the properties of things that 
have not been brought to my sense-impression, by 
their likeness to other objects that I have observed. 
This mode of observation (Ansch.} changes my 
advance in knowledge, which as the result of actual 
sense-impression, is only the work of my senses, 
into the work of my mind and all its powers; 
and I have, therefore, as many kinds of sense- 
impression as I have powers of mind. But now 
" sense-impression " has a wider meaning than in 
common speech. It includes the whole series of 
feelings that are inseparable from the very nature 
of my mind. 16 . . 

It is important to learn the difference between these two 

1 1 6 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

kinds of sense-impressions, in order to abstract the laws that 
are proper to each. 

Meanwhile, I return to my path. 

From the consciousness of my sense-impression of the form 
of things, arises the art of measuring. This, however, rests 
immediately upon the art of sense-impression (or obser,- 
Wiion\ which must be differentiated from the simple power 
of gaining knowledge, as well as from the simple kind of 
sense-impression. All divisions for measurement and their 
results are derived from these cultivated sense-impressions. 
But even this art of sense-impression leads us, through com 
parison of objects, beyond the rules of the art of measure 
ment, to free imitations of these proportions, that is, to the 
art of drawing. Lastly we use the power given by the art 
of drawing in the art of writing. 


Presupposes an A B C of s^se-im-pression-s (A B C of 
Anschauung), that is, it presupposes an art of simplifying 
and defining the principles of measurement by exact separa 
tion of all inequalities that appear to the observer. 

Dear Gressner, I will again call your attention to the em 
pirical course that led me to this view of the subject ; and 
for this purpose, will add an extract from a passage in my 
f Report. 17 u Grant the principle," said I, " that sense-im- 
/ pression is the foundation of all knowledge, it follows inevit- 
\ abty, that accuracy of sense-impression is the foundation of 
accurate judgment. 

" But it is obvious, that in art education perfect accuracy 
of observation must be a result of measuring the object to be 
judged [or imitated], or of a power of perceiving proportion, 
so far cultivated as to render measurement of the object 
superfluous. Thus the capacity of measuring correctly, 
ranks, in the art-education of our race, immediately after the 

Hozv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 1 1 7 

need of observation (Ansch.}. Drawing is a linear definition 
of the form, of which the outline and surface are rightly and 
exactly defined, by complete measurement. 

a The principle, that the exercise and capacity of measur 
ing everything, must precede exercises in drawing, or, at 
least keep equal pace with them, is as obvious as it is gene 
rally overlooked. The usual course of our art-education is to 
begin with inaccurate observation and crooked structures, 
then to pull down and build up again crookedly ten times over, 
until at last, and late, the feeling of proportion is matured. 
Then we come, at last, to that which we should have begun 
with, measurement. 18 That is our art-course. Yet we are so 
many thousand years older than the Egyptians, and Etrus 
cans, whose drawings all depend on perfect measurement, 
or are at bottom nothing but [simple statements of] such 

" And now comes the question : What means have we of 
educating the child in this foundation of all art, correct 
measurement of all objects that come before his eyes ? Ob 
viously by a series of measuring sub-divisions of the square, 
which are arranged according to simple, safe, and clear rules, 
and include the sum total of all possible sense-impressions.* 

" True, the modern artists, in spite of the want of such 
measurements, have by long practice in their craft, acquired 
methods by which they have attained more or less ability in 
placing any object before their eyes and drawing it, as it 
really is in nature. It cannot be denied that many of them 
attained this power by toilsome and long-continued efforts. 
By the most confused sense-impressions, they reached a sense 

* Remark for the new edition. This passage is, like many another, 
the expression of immature, unformed opinion of the first empirical 
inquiry, of an idea of elementary education only mistily conceived as a 
whole, and now only so far interesting as it shows the first empirical 
course that this idea took in myself and fellow-workers. PESTALOZZI. 

Ii8 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

of proportion, so far cultivated as to render actual measure 
ment superfluous. But there were almost as many varieties 
of method as men. No one had a name for his own, because 
no one knew it clearly ; therefore he could not properly im 
part it to his pupils. The pupil also was in the same state 
as his teacher, and was obliged, with extreme effort and long 
practice, to find out a method of his own, or rather the result 
of a method, and to acquire a correct sense of proportion. 
And so art stayed in the hands of the few happy ones who 
had time and leisure to gain this sense by circuitous ways ; 
and therefore no one could look upon it as an ordinary human 
business, or claim its cultivation as an ordinary human 
right. Yet it is one; at least he cannot be contradicted 
who asserts that every man living in a cultivated State, 
has a right to learn to read and write. Then, evidently, 
the wish to draw and the capacity of measuring, which are 
developed naturally and easily in the child (as compared 
to the toil with which he is taught reading and writing) 
must be restored to him with greater art or more force, 
if we would not injure him more than the reading can 
ever be worth. But drawing, as a help towards the end 
of instruction, making ideas clear, is essentially bound 
up with the measurement of forms. When a child is given 
an object to draw, he can never use his art as he should, 
that is as a means of rising through vague sense-impres 
sion to clear ideas in all his education, until he can represent 
the proportions of the form, and express himself about them ; 
nor can his art have that real value that it might and should 
have, were it in harmony with the great purpose of educa 

/ Thus in order to found the art of drawing, we must 

subordinate it to the art of measuring, and endeavour to 

I organize as definite measuring forms the divisions into 

\angles and arcs that come out of the fundamental form of the 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 1 1 9 

^square, as well as its rectilinear divisions. This has been 
&one, and I think I have organized a series of such measur 
ing-forms, 19 the use of which makes the learning of all 
measurements, and the proportions of all forms easy to 
understand, just as the A B C of sounds makes the learning 
of language easy. 

* This A B C of form (ABC of Anschauung), however, is 
an equal division of the square into definite measure-forms, 
and requires an exact knowledge of its foundation the 
straight line in a vertical or horizontal position. 

These divisions of the square by straight lines produce 
certain forms for defining and measuring all angles, as well 
as the circle and all arcs. I call the whole the ABC 
f Anschauung." 

This should be presented to the child in the following 

We show him the properties of straight lines, unconnected 
and each by itself, under many conditions and in different 
arbitrary directions, and make him clearly conscious of the 
different appearances, without considering their further 
uses. Then we begin to name the straight lines as horizon 
tal, vertical, and oblique ; describing the oblique lines first 

* I must here remark that the A B C of Anschauung appears to 
be the only essential and true method of instruction for the just 
appreciation of the forms of things. But until now, this method has 
been entirely neglected and ignored, though we have a hundred such 
methods for arithmetic and language. Meanwhile, the want of such 
a method of instruction about form, is not to be regarded only as a 
defect in the structure of human knowledge, but as the defect in the 
foundation of all knowledge. It seems to me a defect in knowledge, 
at the very point, where language and number should be subordinate 
jto. it. My ABC der Anschauung will remedy this deficiency 
and secure instruction a basis, on which other methods of instruction 
must be built. 1 beg the men of Germany, who feel themselves en 
titled to judge, to look upon this point as the foundation of my 
method. The value or worthlessness of my attempt rests upon the 
Tightness or wrongness of this foundation. PESTALOZZI. 

12O How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

as rising or falling, then as rising or falling to right or left. 
Then we name the different parallels as horizontal, vertical, 
and oblique parallel lines ; then we name the principal angles 
formed by joining these lines, as right, acute, obtuse. In 
the same way we teach them to know and name the prototype 
of all measure-forms, the square, which arises from joining 
together two angles, and its divisions into halves, quarters, 
sixths, and so on, then the circle and its variations, in elon 
gated forms, and their different parts. 

All these definitions should be taught to the children as 
results of measuring with the eye, and the measuring-forms 
named in this course as square, horizontal, or vertical oblong 
(or rectangle) ; the curved lines as circle, semi-circle, quad 
rant ; first oval, 20 half-oval, quarter-oval, second, third, fourth, 
fifth, and so on. They must be led to use these forms as 
means of measuring, and to learn the nature of the propor 
tions by which they are produced. The first means of 
obtaining this end is 

1. To endeavour to make the child know and name the 
proportions of these measure-forms. 

2. To enable him to apply and use them independently. 
The child will be already prepared for this purpose by the 

Mother's Book and many objects have been shown him that 
are square, round, oval, broad, long, narrow. Soon after the 
divisions of the A B C of Anschauung will be cut out in 
cardboard and shown him as quarter, half quarter, sixth of 
the square, and so on ; and then again as circle, half and 
quarter circle, oval, half and quarter oval. In this way a dim 
consciousness will be produced beforehand, of the clear idea, 
that must hereafter be developed by learning the artistic 
appearance and the use of these forms. For this, too, they 
are prepared by the Mother's Book, in which the beginnings 
of a definite language of the forms, as well as the begin 
nings of number, which presupposes measurement, are given. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 12 1 

For this purpose they are led through the A B C of An- 
schauung, since the methods of this art, language and num 
ber, of which they are made dimly conscious by the Mother's 
Book, are, in this ABC, made clear for the precise purpose 
of measuring; and they are enabled to express themselves 
clearly about number and measure in every form. 

3. The third means of attaining this end is by drawing 
these forms themselves, by which the children (com 
bining this with the other two methods) not only 
gradually gain clear ideas about every form, but gain 
accurate power of working with every form. In 
order to attain the first end, we show them also the 
proportions of the forms that are recognized in the 
first course as horizontal and vertical rectangles, and 
described in the second course, as e.g., " the horizontal 
rectangle 2 is twice as long as it is high : the ver 
tical rectangle 2 is twice as high as it is long," and so 
on through all the divisions. Here, too, the oblique 
lines of several rectangles must be seen and described 
by ratios for the sake of the different directions, 
e.g. : horizontal rectangle, 1 x 1|, vertical rectangle, 
1 x 2i, 3J, l. For the same purpose the different 
angles of the oblique lines, acute or obtuse, must be 
defined as well as the divisions of the circle, and the 
ovals arising from dividing the rectangle. 
The power of measuring, thus developed in me by the re 
cognition of such definite forms, raises my feeble observing 
power to an art, subordinated to definite rules, from which 
arises that just appreciation of all forms that I call the art 
of senseSTpression for qEse^vaSonV^ This is a new art that 
should precede the usual, oldfashioned, well-known ideas of 
art-culture, and serve as their general and essential founda 
tion. By this means, every child, in the simplest way is en 
abled to judge rightly and express himself clearly about 


122 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

every object in nature, according to its external * propor 
tions and its relation to others. By this art-guidance he 
v is enabled, whenever he looks at a figure, to describe arid 
i name, not only the proportion of height to breadth, but the 
x proportion of every single deviation of its form from the 
.square, in oblique lines and curves, and to apply the names 
\ which denote these deviations in our A B C of Anschauung. 
The means of attaining this power lie in the art of measur- 
Ungj and will be still further developed in the child by 
the art of drawing, particularly the art of drawing lines. 
He will be brought to a point when he will be so familiar 
with the measure-forms, that they will become a kind of in 
stinct. After perfecting the preliminary exercises, he need 
no longer put them before his eyes as an actual means of 
measuring the most complex objects ; but without the help 
of [special] measurement, he can represent all their propor 
tions, and express himself clearly about them. 

We cannot say to what results the developed power may 
raise every child, even the weakest. No one shall say it is 
a dream. I have led children on these principles, and my 
theory is for me entirely the result of my decided ex 
perience. Any one may come and see. Certainly my chil 
dren are only at the beginning of this guidance, but these 
beginnings show, so far, that it needs a peculiar species of 
man to stand near my children and not be convinced ; and 
this is no less than extraordinary. 


Is the power of representing to oneself the sense-impression 
made by any object, its outline and the characteristics con 
tained within the outline, by means of similar lines, and of 
being able to imitate these lines accurately. 

This art will become, beyond comparison, easier by the 

* Ed. 1, Internal. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 123 

new method, because in every way it appears to be only an 
easy application of the forms that have not only been ob 
served by the child already, but by practice in imitating, 
have developed in him a real power of measuring. 

This is done in this way. As soon as the child draws the 
horizontal line, with which the A B C of Anschauung 
begins, readily and correctly, we try to find him, out of the 
whole chaos of objects seen and shown, figures whose out 
line is only the application of the familiar horizontal line, or 
at least only offers an imperceptible deviation from it. 

Then we go on to the vertical line, then to the right angle, 
and so on. As the child, by easy application of these forms, 
becomes stronger, we gradually vary the figures. The re 
sults of these measures (which agree with the natural physical 
mechanical laws) on the art of drawing are as remarkable 
as those of the A B C of Anschauung upon the art of 
measuring. While in this way the children bring every 
drawing, even the first-beginning drawing, to perfection, 
before they proceed farther, a consciousness of the result of 
perfected power is developed in them, already, in the first 
steps of this art ; and with this consciousness, an effort to 
wards perfection and a perseverance towards completion, 
are also developed, which the hurly-burly caused by the folly 
and disorder of our un psychological men and methods of art- 
education, never attempts or can attempt. 

The foundation of progress, in children so taught, is not 
only in the hand, it is founded on the intrinsic powers of 
human nature. The exercise-books of measure-forms then 
give the sequence of means by which this effort, used with 
psychological art, and within physical -mechanical laws, raises 
the child step by step to the point on which we have already 
touched, when having the measure-forms actually before him 
becomes gradually superfluous, and when of the guiding 
lines in art, none remains but art itself. 

124 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 


Nature herself has subordinated this art to that of draw 
ing ; and all methods by which drawing is developed and 
brought to perfection in children, must then be naturally and 
specially dependent upon the art of measuring. 

The art of writing can, as little as drawing, be begun and 
pursued without preceding developing exercises in measured 
lines, not only because it is a special kind of linear drawing 
and suffers no arbitrary deviation from the fixed direction of 
its forms, but also, if it is made easy to the child before 
drawing, it must necessarily spoil the hand (for drawing), 
because it stiffens it in particular directions before the 
universal flexibility for all the forms which drawing re 
quires, has been sufficiently and firmly established. Still 
more should drawing precede writing because it makes the 
right forming of the letters incomparably easier, and saves 
the great waste of time spent in making crooked [and in 
correct] forms again and again. The child enjoys this ad 
vantage in his whole education, from the very beginning of 
the art, he is made conscious of its power of perfection, 
and therefore from the first moment of learning to write, it 
creates the will to add nothing inharmonious, incorrect, and 
imperfect to the first steps already brought to a certain 
degree of accuracy, precision, and perfection. 

Writing, like drawing, should be tried first with the slate 
pencil on a slate, until the child is old enough to make 
letters with a certain degree of accuracy with the pencil, 
an age at which it would be extremely difficult to teach 
him to guide a pen. 

Again, the use of the pencil before the pen in writing, and 
in drawing, is to be recommended, because, in any case, 
mistakes can be easily erased from the slate ; while, on the 
contrary, one wrong word remaining on paper, often leads 
to a whole tribe of still worse mistakes than the first, and 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 125 

almost from the beginning of a line or page of writing to the 
end, there is a remarkable kind of progression from the mis 
taken deviation set up at the beginning of the line or page. 

Lastly, I consider it an essential advantage of this method, 
that the child rnbs out the perfectly good work also from 
the slate. No one can believe how important this is, if he 
does not generally know how important it is for the human 
race, that man should be educated without conceit, and not 
come to set a fictitious value on his own handywork too 

So I divide learning to write into two stages. 

1. That in which the child becomes familiar with the 
forms of the letters and their combinations, inde 
pendently of the use of the pen. 

2. That in which his hand is practised in the use of 
the proper writing instrument, the pen. 

In the first stage I put the letters in exact proportions 
before the child, and have prepared a copy-book by which 
the child, in harmony with this whole method and its advan 
tages, may educate himself almost alone and without further 
help, in the power of writing. The advantages of this 
writing-book are : 

1. It dwells long enough on the beginning and funda 
mental forms of the letters. 

2. It gradually joins the parts of the combined forms 
of letters to each other, so that the completion of 
the more difficult letters is only to be regarded as a 
gradual addition of new parts to the already prac 
tised beginnings of letters. 

3. It exercises the child in combining several letters 
from the moment that he is able to copy one cor 
rectly, and he rises step by step to the combination 
of such words as consist simply of those letters, 
which he can copy correctly at that time. 

126 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

4. Lastly, it has this advantage, it can be cut up into 
single lines, and so laid before the child, that the 
lines to be imitated by eye and hand, stand imme 
diately over the letters of the copy. 

In the second stage, when the child must be led to use 
the special writing instrument, the pen, he has already been 
exercised in the forms of the letters and their combinations, 
and is tolerably perfect. The teacher has then nothing 
further to do, but to complete the power of drawing these 
forms by the use of the pen, and make it the real art of 

Meanwhile the child, here too, must join on the further 
progress to the point up to which he has already practised. 
His first writing with the pen is merely his pencil progress 
over again, and with the first use of the pen he should begin 
with writing the letters just the same size as he drew them 
at first, and only gradually be exercised in copying the 
ordinary small writing. 

All branches of instruction demand essentially psycho 
logical analysis of their methods, and the age should be 
exactly fixed at which each may, and ought to be, given to 
the child. As I work on this principle in all subjects, so in 
the art of writing, by always following it, and by using a 
slate pencil copy for children from four to five, I have come 
to the conclusion, that by this method even a bad teacher, or 
a very untrained mother, may be able to teach the children 
accurate and beautiful writing, up to a certain point without 
being able to do it herself. The essential purpose of my 
method here and elsewhere, is to make home instruction 
possible again, for people neglected in this respect, and to 
raise every mother, whose heart beats for her children, step 
by step, till at last she can follow my elementary exercises 
by herself, and be able to use them witk her children. To 
do, this, she need in every case be but a little step in advance 
of the children. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 127 

My heart beats high with the hopes to which these views 
lead me; but, dear friend, ever since I began to express 
any suggestion of the kind, men cry out at me from all 
sides, " The mothers of this country will never do it" 
And not only men of the people, but even men who teach 
the people, men who teach the people Christianity, say scorn- 
fulJy to me, " You may run up and down our villages, you 
will find no mothers who will do what you ask of them." 
[They are quite right. It is so ; but it should not be so ; it 
shall not be so. Of a hundred men, who make this objection, 
hardly one knows why it is so, and still fewer know how to 
make it different.] Meanwhile I can answer these people 
with the utmost calmness : " I luitt, ivith the means that are 
in my hand, enable heathen mothers in the far north to do 
what I want, and if it is really true that Christian mothers 
in temperate Europe that Christian mothers in my father 
land cannot be brought so far as I will bring heathen 
mothers in the wild north, at any time " then I would cry 
out to these gentlemen who now in this way slander the 
people of our fatherland, whom they, and their fathers, have 
taught, instructed and guided hitherto : " You should wash 
your hands, and say aloud : * We are guiltless of this mon 
strous barbarism of the people of temperate Europe. We 
are guiltless of this monstrous barbarism of the best 
natured, most docile of all European people, the Swiss.' 
Say out loud, * We and our fathers have done what we ought 
to have done, to remove the unutterable misery of this 
barbarism from our country and our fatherland, and to 
prevent this unspeakable ruin of the first principles of 
morality and Christianity in our country and fatherland.' " 
I would answer the men who dare to say " Run up and 
down the country, the mothers of the land will not do it or 
wish to do it," and say, " You ought to cry out to these 
unnatural mothers of our fatherland as Christ once cried to 

128 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Jerusalem, ' Mothers ! mothers ! we would have gathered 
you together under the wings of wisdom, humanity, and 
Christianity, as a hen gathereth her chickens, but ye would 
not? " If they dare do this, I will be silent and believe in 
their word and in their experience and not in the mothers 
of the land, not in the heart that God has put into their 
breast. But if they dare not do this, I will not believe in 
them, but in the mothers of the land, and in the heart that 
God has put in their breast. I will declare the wretched 
talk, in which they throw away the people of the land as if 
they were the produce of a lower order of creation, a slander 
against the people, against nature and truth. I go on my 
way like a wanderer who hears the wind in a distant wold 
but feels it not. I go on my way for all this talk. 
Throughout my whole life, I have seen and known all kinds 
of such wordy men, wrapped up in systems and theories, 
knowing nothing and caring nothing for tjie people and the 
individuals, who to-day slander the people in this way about 
this matter of education are more in this state than any others 
that I know. Such men think themselves upon a height, and 
the people far below -them in the valley ; but they are mis 
taken in both ; and are like poor apes, hindered and made 
incapable, by the conceit of their miserable, nature, of judg 
ing rightly about the pure worth of real animal powers, or 
about true human talents. The brilliant polish, which these 
wordy men owe to their unnatural way of living, makes them 
incapable of understanding that they are mounted on stilts, 
and therefore must come down from their miserable wooden 
legs, in order to stand as firmly as other folk, upon God's 
earth. I pity them. I have heard many of these wretched 
wordy men say, with a mixture of nun-like innocence and rab 
binical wisdom : " What can be more beautiful for the people 
than the Heidelberg Catechism and the Psalter f " and I 
must take humanity into account even here, and recall to mind 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 129 

the causes of this error. Yes, friend ! I will excuse them 
this error of the human mind, it has always been and will 
ever be so. Men are all alike, the scribes and their disciples 
were so too. Then I will not open my mouth again against 
the verbosity of their social dogmas, against the tinkling 
cymbals of their ceremonies, and the loveless and foolish frame 
of mind that they must, by their very nature, produce ; but, 
with the greatest man who ever declared the cause of truth, 
of the people and of love victorious against the errors of the 
scribes, I will only say, " Father, forgive them ; for they 
know not what they do" 

But I return. Learning to write appears to be, thirdly, 
a kind of learning to talk. In its nature it is only a 
peculiar and special exercise of this art. 

As writing, considered as form, appears in my methods, in 
connection with measuring and drawing, and in this con 
nection, enjoys all the advantages that are produced by the 
early development of these faculties, so it appears again as 
a special kind of learning to talk in connection with the 
very exercises, which have been used from the cradle up 
wards, for the development of this power. 

The child enjoys just the same advantages that he has 
had already in the development of his speech, a faculty that 
has been developed and firmly fixed in him by the Mother's 
Book, the Spelling and the Reading Book. 

A child taught by these methods, knows the spelling and 
first reading book almost by heart. He knows the funda 
mentals of orthography and language as one great whole, 
and when he has practised the forms of the letters, by means 
of the slate pencil and the first writing exercises, and is 
quite familiar with the individual features of the letters and 
their combinations, he needs for his further writing lessons 
TIO more special copies. He has the essence of copies in his 
head, by his readiness in speech and orthography ; he writes 


130 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

from his own experience, on the lines of the spelling and 
reading books, lists of words by which he confirms his 
knowledge of language, and uses his powers of memory and 

The advantages of these graduated exercises in writing, 
connected with those used in learning to talk, are especially 
these : 

1. They confirm the grammatical facility that the child 
already possesses, and impress its principles indelibly 
upon him. It must be so, since, following the direc 
tion of the reading book, in which nouns, verbs, 
adjectives, adverbs, etc., are arranged in separate 
columns, he is exercised in putting these words into 
their places, and so he learns to know at once, to 
which column any given word belongs, and to make 
for himself rules, which are applicable to these 

2. In the same way his power of gaining clear ideas 
generally is strengthened by speech (still according 
to the method); while as a writing-exercise, he can, 
with his dictionary, make lists of headings and signs 
of sub-divisions and some generalizations, collected by 
himself, on the relationships of all things. 

3. The means of gaining clear ideas by writing-exer 
cises is confirmed, for not only is he exercised by 
writing, as by speaking, in putting together nouns, 
verbs and adjectives ; but by these exercises he gains 
independent power of discovering and adding his own 
knowledge or ideas to the many sequences ; the chief 
contents of which he has made his own in learning 
to talk. 

For example, in the writing-exercise, he not only adds 
what in the reading book he has learned to call high, and 
pointed, but he is taught, and is pleased with the task, to 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 131 

think and add what objects, within his own circle of know 
ledge, have this form. 

I give an example, which shows the children's power of 
discovering such illustrations. 

I gave them the word three-cornered and they used it, with 
the help of a country schoolmaster, on the following examples. 

Three-cornered : the triangle ; the plummet ; half a hand 
kerchief ; the joiner's rule ; a kind of file ; the bayonet ; the 
prism ; the beechnut ; the scraper of an engraver ; the wound 
made by a leech ; the sword blade ; buckwheat seed ; the 
legs of the compass ; the lower part of the nose ; Grood Henry's 
leaf* ; the spinage-leaf ; the ovary of the tulip ; the figure 4 ; 
and the ovary of the shepherd's purse. 

They found several more three-cornered figures in tables, 
and windows with round panes, for which however they 
knew no names. 

The same thing is done when they add adjectives to 
nouns. They add, for example, not only all the adjectives 
which they have learned from the reading book, to eel, 
carrion, evening, etc., but also those adjectives that their 
experience has shown them to be suitable. So, in the 
simplest way, by collecting the characteristics of things, 
they make themselves acquainted and familiar with the 
nature, essence, and properties of all things within their 
knowledge. Verbs also are treated in the same way. When, 
for example, they wish to explain to observe by adding nouns 
and adverbs, they will not only explain it, or support it by 
those which they find in the reading book, but will do as 

The results of these exercises are far-reaching They en 
able the children, from the descriptions learned by heart, e.g. 
the bell, to go, to stand, to lie, eye, ear, etc., which are fixed and 
general leading-strings for them, to express themselves clearly 
* Chenopodium, Bonus Eenricus, Goosefoot. 

132 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

about every possible thing, whose form or substance they 
know, either by word of mouth, or by writing. But of course 
it must be understood, that this result is attained, not by 
isolated special writing-exercises, but by connecting these 
with the whole series of means, by which the method raises 
the pupils gradually to clear ideas. 

This must be understood throughout the whole course of 
this teaching, when I say that learning to write is perfected 
not only as an art, but also as a calling, and that the child, 
in this way, may be enabled to express itself in words as 
easily and as naturally by this art, as by speech itself. 


The third elementary means of gaining knowledge is 

Now while sound and form lead us, by several subordinate 
methods, to the clear ideas and mental independence, which 
we aim at through them, arithmetic is the only means of 
instruction which is connected with no subordinate means. 
Wherever it applies it appears only as a simple result of that 
elementary faculty by which we make ourselves clearly con 
scious of the relations of more or less in all seen objects 
(Ansch.), and are enabled to represent these ratios with infi 
nite accuracy. 

Sound and form very often carry seeds of error and decep 
tion in themselves number never. It alone leads to certain 
results, and if measurement makes the same claim, it can 
only support it by the help of arithmetic and in union with 
it. That is, it is sure because it calculates. 

Now arithmetic is to be considered the means that aims 
most directly at the end of instruction, clear ideas, the most 
important of all means. It is obvious therefore, that this 
subject should always be pursued with special care and skill. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 133 

It is extremely important, that it should be put into such 
forms, as will enable us to use all the advantages afforded to 
instruction by deep psychology and a comprehensive know 
ledge of the immutable laws of the physical mechanism. 

I have, therefore, taken especial trouble to make arithmetic 
evident to the child's sense-impression, as the clearest result 
of these laws. I have not only tried to reduce its elements 
to that simplicity in which they appear in actual, natural 
sense-impressions, but also to connect, accurately and un 
interruptedly, its further steps and all its variations with 
this simplicity of the beginning-points. I am convinced 
that even the extreme limits of this art can only be means 
of true enlightenment (that is a means of gaining clear ideas 
and pure insight) in so far, as they develope these in the 
human mind, in the same gradation, with which nature herself 
goes on from the first beginning-points. 


arises entirely from simply putting together and separating 
several units. Its basis, as I said, is essentially this. One 
and one are two, and one from two leaves one. Any number, 
whatever it may be, is only an abbreviation of this natural, 
original method of counting. But it is important, that this 
consciousness of the origin of relations of numbers, should 
not be weakened in the human mind, by the shortening ex 
pedients of arithmetic. It should be deeply impressed with 
great care on all the ways in which this art is taught, and 
all the future steps should be built upon the consciousness, 
deeply retained in the human mind, of the real relations of 
things, which lie at the bottom of all calculation. If this is 
not done, this first means of gaming clear ideas will be de 
graded to a plaything of our memory and imagination, and 
will be useless for its essential purpose. 

It cannot be otherwise. When, for example, we just learn 

134 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

by heart " three and four make seven," and then build upon 
this seven, as if we really knew that three and four make 
seven, we deceive ourselves, for the inner truth of seven is 
not in us, for we are not conscious of the meaning behind it, 
which alone can make an empty word a truth for us. It is 
the same with all branches of human knowledge. Drawing 
too, for want of being connected with its basis, measure 
ment, loses the inner truth of its being, by which alone it 
can be raised to a means of leading us to clear ideas. 

In theJMother's Book I begin my efforts to give the chil 
dren an impression of the relations of numbers, as actual 
changes of more and less; these can be found in the objects 
before their eyes. The first tables of this book contain a 
series of objects, that give the child a clear sense-impression 
of one, two, three, etc., up to ten. Then I let the children 
look for those objects, that are represented on these tables 
as units, pairs of units, threes of units, and so on. After 
wards I let them find these same relations on their fingers, 
or with peas, stones or other handy objects, and I renew 
the knowledge hundreds and hundreds of times daily. For 
as I divide words into syllables and letters on the spell 
ing-board, I throw out the question, " How many syllables 
has this word ? What is the first, second, third?" and so on. 
In this way the beginning of calculation is deeply impressed 
upon the children, and they become familiar with its abbrevia 
tions, and with numbers, with full consciousness of their inner 
truth, before they use them, without the background of sense- 
impression before their eyes. Independently of the advan 
tage of in this way making calculation the foundation of 
clear ideas, it is incredible how easy the art itself may be 
made to the child by this firmly based preparation through 
sense-impressions. Experience shows that the beginnings 
are only difficult because these [necessary] psychological 
methods are not so widely used as they should be. There- 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 135 

fore I must be somewhat circumstantial in my description of 
the methods to be applied here. 

Besides the means already indicated, we use after them the 
spelling-board also for counting. We put upon it each 
tablet as a unit and we begin, when the children are learning 
their letters, to make them learn the relations of numbers 
also. We take a particular tablet and ask the child, " Are 
there many tablets ? " The child answers, u No ; only one." 
Then we add another and ask, " One and one how many? " 
the child answers, " One and one are two." Thus we go on, 
adding only one at a time; afterwards we add two, three, 
and so on. 

When the child understands the addition of one and one, 
up to ten, perfectly, and can express himself with alsolute 
ease, we put the letter-tablets in the same way upon the 
board, but alter the questions, and say, " When you have 
two tablets how many times one tablet have you." The 
child looks, counts, and answers rightly : " If I have two 
tablets, I have twice one tablet." 

When by exact and often repeated counting of the parts, 
he has become clearly conscious how many units are in the 
first numbers, we change the question again and say with 
a similar arrangement of tablets, "How many times one is- 
two ? How many times one is three ? " etc., and then again, 
" How many times is one contained in two ? In three ? " 
etc. Then when the child is acquainted with the simple 
beginnings of addition, multiplication, and division, and is 
perfectly familiar with the nature of these forms of reckon 
ing through sense - impression, we try to make him ac 
quainted and familiar with the beginnings of subtraction, in 
the same way, through sense-impression. This is done in 
this way. From the ten tablets collected together, we take 
away one, and ask : " When you have taken one away from 
ten how many are left ? " The child counts, finds nine, and 

136 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

answers, " When I take one away from ten, nine are left." 
Then we take a second tablet away, and ask, " One less than 
nine, how many?" The child counts again, finds eight, and 
answers, " One less than nine is eight." So we go on to 
the last. 

This kind of explanation of arithmetic may now be set 
down in writing in the following way in rows. 

II! II II etc. 


I I I I I I I I I etc. 

As the counting of each row is finished, the separate 
numbers will be taken away in the same way ; as follows : 

If, for example, we add 1 and 2 are 3, and 2 are 5, and 2 
are 7, etc., up to 21, then we take two tablets away and say, 
" 2 less than 21, how many?" and go on till no more are 

The consciousness of many, or few objects, that is pro 
duced by laying real, movable, actual things before the 
child, is then confirmed in him by counting-tables, by which 
he is shown similar sequences of relations, by means of 
strokes and dots. These tables, like real objects, will be 
used as guides to counting, as the Spelling Book is used 
for putting up the words on the spelling-board. When the 
child is accustomed to count with real objects, and with the 
dots and strokes, put in their place, as far as these tables 
(that are founded entirely on sense-impression) go, the know 
ledge of the real relations of numbers will be so confirmed 
in him, that the short methods by means of ordinary numbers, 
without sense-impression, will be incredibly easy to him 
because his mental powers have not been dissipated [so 
far as arithmetic goes] by confusion, discrepancies, and 
guessing. We can say in a special sense that such counting 
is an exercise for the reason, and not memory or routine 

How Gertruae Teaches Her Children. 137 

work. It is the result of the clearest most exact sense- 
impression and leads safely to clear ideas about these re 

But as increase and decrease of all objects does not consist 
only of more or less units, but also in the division of units 
into several parts, a second form of counting arises ; or 
rather a path is opened, by which every separate unit may 
be the foundation of endless divisions of itself, and endless 
divisions of the units contained in it. 

As in the first kind of counting, that is of many or few 
whole units we have considered the number one as the begin 
ning point of all calculation, and as the foundation of the 
art of sense-impression and all its changes ; so now in the 
second kind of counting, a figure must be found which does 
the same for this kind of counting, as the number one does 
for the other. 

We must find a figure that is infinitely divisible and that 
in all its divisions is like itself ; a figure by which a kind of 
sense-impression of infinitesimal fractions, either as parts of 
a whole, or as independent undivided units, may be given. 
This figure must put every relation of a fraction, in relation 
to the whole, before the child's eyes as clearly and as exactly, 
as, by our method, in simple arithmetic, the number one 
is shown in the number three, exactly three times. 

There is no possible figure that can do this except the 

By this we can put sensibly before the child's eyes, the 
proportions of the divisions of the unit or the fraction, in 
their progressive sequences, from the common beginning- 
point of all notions of more or less, the number one, just as 
we showed him the increase or decrease of undivided units. 
We have prepared a table of sense-impressions of fractions 
that has 11 rows, each consisting of ten squares. 1 

The squares in the first row are undivided. Those in, 

138 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

the second are divided into two equal parts ; those in the 
third into three, and so on up to 10. 

This table simply divided, is followed by a second table 
in which these simple visible divisions go on in the following 
order. The squares, which in the first table are divided 
into two equal parts, are now divided into 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 
14, 16, 18, 20 parts ; those in the next row are divided into 
3, 6, 9, 12, etc. 

As the A B C of Anschauung consists of measuring- 
forms, which are founded generally on the ten-fold division 
of the square, it is obvious that we can use the common 
'.origin of the A B C of Anschauung, the square, as the foun 
dation of an A B C of arithmetic ; or rather, that we have 
brought the elements of form and number into such harmony, 
that our measure-forms can be used as the first foundation 
of relations of numbers ; and the first foundations of the 
relations of numbers can be used as measure-forms. 

So we have reached this : By our method we can teach 

children arithmetic, only by using the very same ABC that 

at first we used as the A B C of Anschauung in a nar- 

' J row sense, 2 that is, as the foundation of measure, drawing, 

/and writing. ^ 

The child will be made so fully conscious of the visible 
relations of all fractions by the use of these tables, that 
exercises in fractional arithmetic, in ordinary numbers, 
will be as incredibly easy as arithmetic with undivided 
units. Experience shows, that by this method, children 
attain readiness in these exercises, three or four years sooner 
than is possible without it. By these, as by the former 
exercises, the child's mind is preserved from confusion, dis 
crepancies, and useless guesses, and here too we can say with 
decision : The calculating power of such children is the 
result of the clearest, most exact sense-impression, and leads 
by its clearness to truth, and susceptibility to truth. 3 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 139 


Friend ! When I now look back and ask myself : What 
have I specially done for the very being of education ? I 
find I have fixed the highest, supreme principle of instruc 
tion in the recognition of sense-impression as the absolute 
foundation of all knowledge. Apart from all special teach 
ing I have sought tp discover the nature of teaching itself / 
and the prot otype,. -fey which Nature herself has determined 
the instruction of our race. I find I have reduced all in 
struction to three elements ; and have sought for special 
methods which should render the results of all instruction 
in these three branches absolutely certain. 

Lastly, I find I have brought these three elements into 
harmony with each, other, and made instruction, in all three 
branches, not only harmonious with itself in many ways, 
but also with human nature, and have brought it nearer to 
the course of Nature in the development of the human race. 

But while I did this I found, of necessity, that the in 
struction of our country, as it is publicly and generally 
conducted for the people, wholly and entirely ignores sense- 
impression as the supreme principle of instruction, that 
throughout it does not take, sufficient notice of the prototype, 

mC*<V*'tt/iV , . . ,. /ns^rwcfyoH ,, . ,*. . , 

actrctig4o which the LOuea^iefi of our race is determined 
by the necessary laws of our nature itself; that it rather 
sacrifices the essentials of all teaching to the hurly burly of 
isolated teaching of special things and kills the spirit of 
truth by dishing up all kinds of broken truths, and extin 
guishes the power of self-activity which rests upon it, in 
the human race. I found, and it was clear as day, that this 
kind of instruction reduces its particular methods neither to 
elementary principles nor to elementary forms ; that by the 
neglect of sense-impression, as the absolute foundation of all 
knowledge, it is unable by any of its unconnected methods to 

140 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

attain the end of all instruction,clear ideas, and even to make 
those limited results, at 'which it solely aims, absolutely 

* This educational * position in which, at least, ten men 
against one are to be found in Europe, as well as the actual 
quality of that instruction which they enjoy, appears almost 
incredible at the first glance of the subject ; but it is not 
only historically correct, it is psychologically inevitable ; it 
could not be otherwise. Europe, with its system of popular in 
struction, was bound to sink into the error, or rather insanity, 
that really underlay it. It rose on the one hand, to a gigantic 
height in special arts and sciences, and lost on the other, all 
foundations of natural teaching for the whole race. No 
country ever rose so high on the one side, nor sank so low on 
the other. Like the image of the prophet, it touches the 
clouds with its golden head of special arts and sciences ; but 
popular instruction, that should be the foundation of this 
golden head, is, like the feet of this gigantic image, the most 
wretched, most fragile, most good for nothing clay. This 
disproportion, ruinous for the human mind, between the 
advantages of the upper, and the misery of the lower classeSj 
or rather the beginning-point from which this striking 
disproportion in the culture of our country dates, is the 
invention of the art of printing. The country, in its first 
astonishment about this new and boundless influence, this 
making of word-knowledge easy, fell into a kind of dizzy, 
quack-like trust in the universality of its effects. This was 
natural in the first generation after the discovery ; but that 
the country, after so many ages, still lives in the same dizzy 

* Even the good Lavater, caring for and honouring the positive 
condition of the world as nobody else did, knew and confessed this. 
He answered the question : What simple elements can be found for 
the Art ; and particularly for the observation ( Ansch.) of all things ? 
He knew none, and it surpassed all belief how groundless the Art 
(of education) in Europe was. PESTALOZZI. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 141 

state, and has let it grow to a soul-and-body-destroying 
nervous fever, without feeling ill ! Really this could have 
happened in no country but ours. 

But it needed another influence interwoven of monkish 
feudal, Jesuit, and government systems, in order to produce 
through this art the result it has had on Europe. With these 
surrounding circumstances, it is then really not only com 
prehensible how it came to take a positive position together 
with our arts and our popular instruction, but it is even clear, 
that under given circumstances it could produce no lesser 
art, but also no better instruction than it has actually pro 
duced. It is quite clear how it was forced to narrow the 
five senses of the country, and so to bind particularly, that 
instrument of sense-impression, the eye, to the heathen altar 
of the new learning, letters and books. I might almost say 
it was forced to make this universal instrument of know 
ledge a mere letter-eye, and us mere letter-men. The Re 
formation [by the weakening of its original spirit and the 
necessary resulting deification of dead forms and thoughts] 
completed what the art of printing began. Without putting 
its heart under the obvious stupidity of a monkish or feudal 
world, it has opened its mouth generally only to express 
abstract ideas. 2 This still more increased the inner atrophy 
of the world, making its men letter-beings, and brought it 
to such a point, that the errors of this condition cannot be 
dissolved by progress in truth, love and faith, but on the 
contrary, they can only be strengthened, while they seem to 
be dissolved, by the still more dangerous errors of infidelity, 
indifference and lawlessness. 

As a devastating flood, checked in its career by a fallen 
rock, takes a new course and spreads its devastation from 
generation to generation, so European popular education, 

142 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

having once forsaken the even road of sense-impression, 
owing to the influence of these two great events, has taken 
generally a baseless, visionary course, increasing its human 
devastation year by year, from generation to generation. 
Now after ages it has culminated in the general word- 
twisting 2 of our knowledge. This has [led to the word- 
twisting of infidelity. This profound vice of word and 
dream is in no way fitted to raise us to the still wisdom of 
faith and love, but on the contrary to lead us to the word- 
twisting of sham and superstition and its indifference and 
hardness. In any case it is undeniable that this devouring 
word and book nature of our culture has] brought us to this 
we cannot any longer remain as we are. 

It could not be otherwise. Since we have contrived with 
deeply founded art, and still more deeply founded measures 
for supporting error, to rob our knowledge and our methods 
of instruction of all sense-impression, and ourselves of all 
power of gaining sense-impressions, the gilded, giddy pate of 
our culture could not possibly stand on any feet but those on 
which it does actually stand. Nothing else was possible. 
The drifting haphazard methods of our culture could in no 
subject attain the final end of public instruction, clear ideas, 
and perfect facility in what is essentially necessary for the 
people to know and to learn of all these subjects. Even the 
best of these methods, the abundant aids for teaching arith 
metic, [mathematics,] and grammar must, under these circum 
stances, lose power, because, without finding any other founda 
tion for all instruction, they have neglected sense-impression. 
So these means of instruction, word, number, and form, not 
being sufficiently subordinated to the one only foundation of 
all knowledge, sense-impression, must necessarily mislead our 
generation to elaborate these means of instruction unequally, 
superficially, and aimlessly, in the midst of error and decep 
tion ; and by this elaboration, weaken our inmost powers, 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 143 

rather than strengthen and cultivate them. We become 
necessarily degraded to lies and folly, and branded as 
miserable, weak, unobservant, wordy babblers, by the very 
same powers and the very same organism * with which the 
Art, holding the hand of Nature, might raise us up to truth 
and wisdom. 

Even the knowledge gained by observation, (Ansch.} forced 
upon us by our circumstances and our business, in spite of 
our folly (because it is impossible for any error in the Art to 
snatch this wholly from mankind) even this kind of know 
ledge, being isolated, becomes one-sided, illusory, egotistic 
and illiberal. There is no help for it. Under such guidance 
we are forced to rebel against whatever is opposed to this 
one-sided, illiberal kind of observation (Ansch.\ and to become 
insensible to all truth that may be beyond the limited range 
of our untrained senses. There is no help for it. We are 
forced under these circumstances, to sink ever deeper from 
generation to generation into the unnatural conventionality, 
the narrow-hearted selfishness, the lawless ambitious vio 
lence resulting from it, in which we now are. 

Dear Gessner ! thus, and in no other way, can we explain 
how, in the past century, during the latter part of which 
this delusion rose to its greatest height, we were plunged 
into a dreamy, or rather raving condition of baseless, frantic 
presumption. This perverted all our ideas of truth and jus 
tice. Yielding to the violent agitation of our wild and blind 
natural feelings, we sank down and a general overturning 
spirit of sansculottism took possession of us all in one way or 
another and resulted, as it must needs result, in the inner dis 
organization of all pure natural feelings, and of all those 
means of helping humanity, which rest upon those feelings. 
This led to the disappearance of all humanity from political 
systems ; this again to the dissolution of a few political 
* Ed. 1. Mechanism. 

144 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

systems which had ceased to be human. But unfortunately 
this did not work to the advantage of humanity. 

This, dear friend, is a sketch of my views on the latest 
events. Thus I explain the measures both of Robespierre 
and Pitt, the behaviour of the senators and of the people. 
And every time I reconsider it I come back to the assertion, 
that the deficiencies of European instruction, or rather, the 
artificial inversion of all natural principles of instruction, 
has brought this part of the world ivhere it is now and 
that there is no remedy for our present and future overturn 
in society, morality and religion, except to turn back from 
the superficiality, incompleteness, and giddy-headedness of 
our popular instruction, and to recognise that sense-impression 
is absolutely the foundation of all knowledge; in other 
words, all knowledge grows out of sense-impression and 
may be traced back to it. 


Friend ! sense-impression, considered as the point at which 
all instruction begins, must be differentiated from the art of 
sense-impression or observation which teaches us the relations 
of all forms. Sense-impression, as the common foundation of 
all three elements of instruction, must come as long before 
the art of sense-impression as it comes before the arts of 
reckoning and speaking. If we consider sense-impression 
as opposed to the art of sense-impression or observation, 
separately and by itself, it is nothing but the presence of the 
external object before the senses which rouses a consciousness 
of the impression made by it. With it Nature begins all 
instruction. The infant enjoys it, the mother gives it him. 
But the Art has done nothing here to keep equal pace with 
Nature. In vain that most beautiful spectacle, the mother 
showing the world to her infant, was presented to its eyes, the 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 145 

Art has done nothing, has verily done nothing for the people, 
in connection with this spectacle. 

Dear Gessner, I will here quote for you the passage that 
expressed this feeling about our Art more than a year 
ago. 1 

" From the moment that a mother takes a child upon her 
lap, she teaches him. She brings nearer to his senses what 
nature has scattered afar off over large areas and in con 
fusion, and makes the action of receiving sense-impressions 
and the knowledge derived from them, easy, pleasant, and 
delightful to him. 

" The mother, weak and untrained, follows Nature without 
help or guidance, and knows not what she is doing. She 
does not intend to teach, she intends only to quiet the child, 
to occupy him. But, nevertheless, in her pure simplicity, 
she follows the high course of Nature without knowing 
what Nature does through her and Nature does very much 
through her. In this way she opens the world to the child. 
She makes him ready to use his senses, and prepares for 
the early development of his attention and power of 

" Now if this high course of Nature were used, if that were 
connected with it which might be connected with it ; if the 
helping Art could make it possible to the mother's heart to 
go on with what she does instinctively for the infant, wisely 
and freely with the growing child ; if, too, the heart [and dis 
position] of the father were also used for this purpose ; and 
-the helping Art made it possible for him to link, with the 
disposition and circumstances of the child, all the activities 
he needs, in order by good management of his most impor 
tant affairs, to attain inner content with himself throughout 
his life, how easy would it be to assist in raising our race 
and every individual man in any position whatever, even 
amid the difficulties of unfavourable circumstances, and amid 


146 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

all the evils of unhappy times, and secure him a still, calm, 
peaceful life. God ! what would be gained for men. But 
we are not yet so far advanced as the Appenzell woman, 
who in the first weeks of her child's life, hangs a large, many- 
coloured, paper bird over his cradle, and in this way clearly 
shows the point at which the Art should begin to bring the 
objects of Nature firmly to the child's clear consciousness." 

Dear friend ! Whoever has seen how the two and three- 
weeks old child stretches hands and feet towards this bird, 
and considers how easy it would be for the Art to lay a 
foundation for actual sense-impressions of all objects of Art 
and Nature in the child by a series of such visible representa 
tions, which may then be gradually made more distinct and 
extended Whoever considers all this and then does not 
feel how we have wasted our time on Gothic monkish educa 
tional rubbish, until it has become hateful to us, truly cakes 
and ale are wasted on him. 

To me the Appenzell bird, like the ox to the Egyptians, 
is a holy thing, and I have done everything to begin my 
instruction at the same point as the Appenzell woman. I 
go further. Neither at the first point, nor in the whole 
series of means of teaching, do I leave to chance what 
Nature, circumstance, or mother-love may present to the sense 
of the child before he can speak. I have done all I could to 
make it possible, by . omitting accidental characteristics, to 
bring the essentials of knowledge gained by sense-impression 
to the child's senses before that age, and to make the con 
scious impressions he receives, unforgetable. 

The first course in the Mother's Book is nothing but an 
attempt to raise sense-impression itself to an art, and to 
lead the children by all three elements r !Joi knowledge, form, 
number and ivords, to a comprehensive consciousness of all 
sense-impressions, the more definite concepts of which will 
constitute the foundation of their later knowledge. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 147 

This book will not only contain representations of those 
objects most necessary for us to know, but also material for a 
continuous series of such objects as are fit, at the first sen^d- 
impression, to rouse a feeling in the children of their mani 
fold relationships and similarities. 

In this respect the Spelling Book does the same thing 
as the Mother's Book. Simply bringing sounds to the ear 
and rousing a consciousness of the impression made through 
the hearing, is as much sense-impression for the child as 
putting objects before his eye, and rousing a consciousness 
of the impression made through the sense of sight. Founded 
on this, I have so arranged the Spelling Book that its 
first course is nothing but simple sense-impression, that is, 
it rests simply on the effort to bring the whole series of 
sounds, that must afterwards serve as the foundation of 
language, to the child's sense of hearing, and to make the im 
pression made by them permanent, at exactly the same age 
at which in the Mother's Book I bring before his sense of 
siglit the visible objects of the world, the clear perception 
of which must be the foundation of his future knowledge. 

This same principle, of raising sense-impression to an art, 
has a place, too, in our third element of knowledge. Number 
in itself, without a foundation of sense-impression, is a 
delusive phantom of an idea, that our imagination certainly 
holds in a dreamy fashion, but which our reason cannot 
grasp firmly as a truth. The child must learn to know rightly 
the inner nature of every form in which the relations of 
number may appear, before he is in a position to comprehend 
one of these forms, as the foundation of a clear conscious 
ness of few or many. 2 Therefore in the Mother's Book I 
have impressed the first ten numbers on the child's senses 
(Ansch.} even at this age in many ways, by fingers, claws, 
leaves, dots, and also as triangle, square, octagon, etc. 

After I have done this in all three branches, and have 

148 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

made sense-impression the absolute foundation of all actual 
knowledge, I again raise sense-impression in all three sub 
jects to the art of sense-impression (or observation), that is, 
a power of considering all objects of sense-impression as 
objects for the exercise of my judgment and my (Pert.} skill. 

In this way I lead the child, with the first element of 
knowledge, form. After I have made him acquainted, in 
the Mother's Book, with manifold sense-impressions of the 
objects and their names, I lead him to the A B C of the art 
of sense-impression (or observation). By this he is put in a 
position to give an account of the form of objects, which he 
distinguished in the Mother's Book, but did not clearly 
know. This book will enable the child to form clear ideas 
on the forms of all things by their relation to the square, 
and in this way to find a whole series of means within 
the compass of subjects of instruction, by which he may rise 
from vague sense-impressions to clear ideas. 

With regard to the second reTomeKiff ffi^no wledge, Number, 
I go on in the same way. After I -have tried by the 
Mother's Book to make the child clearly conscious, be 
fore he can speak, of the ideas of the first ten numbers, I 
try to teach him these expressions for few or many things, by 
gradually adding one unit to another, and making him know 
the nature of two, and then of three, and so on. And thus 
I bring the beginning of all reckoning to the clearest sense- 
impression of the child, and at the same time make him un- 
forgetably familiar with the expressions which stand for them. 
Thus I bring the beginnings of arithmetic in general into se 
quences which are nothing but a psychological, certain, and 
unbroken march onwards from deeply impressed judgments, 
resting on sense-impression, to a little additional new sense- 
impression, but mounting only from 1 to 2 and from 2 to 3. 
The result of this course, ascertained by experience, is that 
when the children have wholly understood the beginning 

Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children 149 

of any kind of calculation, they are able to go on without 
further help. 

It is generally to be noticed with respect to this manner 
of teaching, that it tends to make the principles of each 
subject so evident to the children, that they can complete 
every step of their learning, so that in every case they may 
be absolutely considered [and used] as teachers of their 
younger brothers and sisters, as far as they have gone them 

The most important thing that I have done to simplify and 
illustrate number teaching is this : I not only bring the con 
sciousness of the truth within all relations of numbers to 
the child, by means of sense-impression, but I unite this 
truth of sense-impression with the truth of the science of 
magnitudes, and have set up the square as the common foun- 
datioiTof the r art of se e nse-impression and of arithmetic. 

The third olomcnt of knowledge, speech, considered as an 
application of my principles, is capable of the greatest ex 

If knowledge of form and number should precede speech 
(and this last must partly arise from the first two), it follows 
that the progress of grammar is quicker than that of the art 
of sense-impression (observation) and arithmetic. The im 
pression made on the senses (Ansch.) by form and number 
precedes the art of speech, but the art of sense-impression and 
arithmetic come after the art of speech (grammar}. The 
great peculiarity and highest characteristic of our nature, 
Language, begins in the power of making sounds. It be 
comes gradually developed by improving sounds to articulate 
words ; and from articulate words to language. Nature 
needed ages to raise our race to perfect power of speech, yet 
we learn this art, for which Nature needed ages, in a few 
months. [In teaching our children to speakl we^^njist thej^ 
follow exactly the same course that Nature^followed with the 

150 Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

human race. We dare not do otherwise. And she unques 
tionably began with sense-impression. Even the simplest 
sound, by which man strove to express the impression that an 
object made on him, was an expression of a sense-impression. 
The speech of my race was long only a power of mimicry and 
of making sounds that imitated the tones of living and life 
less nature. From mimicry and sound-making they came to 
hieroglyphics and separate wards, and for long they gave 
special objects special names. This condition of language is 
sublimely described in the first book of Moses, chap, ii., 
verses 19, 20 : " The Lord God brought to Adam all the 
beasts of the earth, and all the birds under heaven, that he 
might look upon them and name them. And Adam gave 
every beast his name." 

From this point speech gradually went further. Men first 
observed the striking differences in the objects that they 
named. Then they came to name properties ; and then to 
name the differences in the actions and forces of objects. 
Much later the art developed of making single words mean 
much, unity, plurality, size, many or few, form and number, 
and at last to express clearly all variations and properties of 
an object, which were produced by changes of time and place, 
by modifying the form and by joining words together. 

In all these stages, speech was^a means produced by art. 
not onty of representing the actual ^process of making^iae'as 
(Intuitionen) clear? Du e t^a*ti3o r of making impressions unfor- 

Language-teaching is, then, in its nature, nothing but a 
collection of psychological means of expressing impressions 
(feelings and thoughts) and of making all their modifications 
that would be else fleeting and incommunicable, lasting and 
communicable by uniting them to words. 

But in consequence of the constant likeness in human 
nature, this can only be done through the harmony between Ian- 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 1 5 i 

guage-teaching and the original course by which Nature her 
self developed our power of speaking to that art which is now 
ours. That is, all instruction in language must be founded 
on sense-impression. It must make mimicry superfluous 
through the art of sense-impression (or observation) and num 
ber-teaching . It must supersede imitation of the sounds of 
animate and inanimate nature by a series of conventional 
sounds. Then it must gradually pass from sound-teaching, 
or rather from general exercises of the organs in all human 
sounds, to word-teaching, to names, to speech-teaching, to 
grammatical declensions, inflections, and composition. But 
in this class of gradation the child must maintain the slow 
progressive step, which Nature has foreshown in the develop 
ment of the grammar of the race. 

But now come the questions : How have I held firmly to 
this course of Nature in the three stages into which Nature 
and experience have divided the development of language, in 
respect to sound-teaching, word-teaching, and speech-teach 
ing ? How have I brought the forms of my method of 
instruction in these subjects into harmony with the aforesaid 
stages? 1 have given the highest scope, of which it is 
capable, to sound-teaching, by firmly holding and distin 
guishing the vowels, as the special roots of all sounds, and 
by gradually adding single consonants before and after the 
vowels. In this way I have made it possible for the child in 
the cradle to become conscious of all these speech-sounds and 
their sequences. I have even made it possible to let an inner 
sense-impression precede the outer, in the infant, by means 
of this instruction, which shows the child arbitrary signs of 
sounds. In this way I insure that the impression on the ear 
should have the same start of the impression on the eye, that 
it has in Nature's teaching of sound. Again, I have made 
this subject easier to teach, by arranging the sequences of 
sounds in this book, in such a way, that every succeeding 

152 How Gertrude TeacJies Her Children. 

sound is as like as possible to the preceding, and is only 
differentiated from it by the addition of single letter. 
Thus I rise from complete familiarity with syllables, to ivord- 
teacliing, to names ; and give the child a word in the first 
reading book, in the " word-book," and again in sequences, 
which by the greatest possible similarity of form, makes the 
further steps of the reading book the easiest play, since this 
word has been deeply impressed and made familiar by a con 
stant addition of a few new letters to those already known. 
Thus many sided sense-impression lies at the base of the 
Mother's Book, of its speech-teaching, and of the meaning 
of the words which the child has to speak. 

The infinite range of knowledge gained by sense-impres 
sion, that nature brings to the child's consciousness at the 
earliest age is, in this book, psychologically arranged and 
concentrated, and the supreme law of Nature, by virtue of 
which the near is always more firmly impressed upon the 
child than the distant, is connected with the principle, which 
is just as important for instruction, of letting the essential 
nature of things make a far deeper impression on the chil 
dren than their varying properties. In this book, by con 
centration and psychological arrangement of objects, the 
boundless range of speech, and knowledge gained by sense- 
impression, it is made easy to the child to get a general view. 
The separate objects of Nature only are countless, their 
essential characteristics are not. Therefore, when the objects 
are arranged according to these characteristics, it can be 
made easy for the child to get a general view. 

I subordinate special language-teaching to this principle. 
My 3 grammar is only a series of methods for enabling the 
child to express himself accurately about all knowledge 
gained by sense-impression, and its relations with number 
and time. I even use the art of writing, so far as it can be 
considered as language-teaching, for this purpose, and have, 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 153 

generally, tried to use all the means that Nature and ex 
perience have put into my hand, for the clearing up of ideas, 
for this same purpose. 

The empirical attempts I have contrived have chiefly served 
to show me that our monkish instruction, by its neglect of all 
psychology, has not only driven us in all subjects from this 
final end of instruction, but has even robbed us of those 
methods which Nature offers to us, without the help of the 
Art for making our ideas clear, and has made the use of these 
means impossible for us, by its pernicious effects on our 

Friend ! The annihilation of all real power in our country, 
by this unnatural monkish instruction and all the misery 
of its unconnected teaching, is incredible. Incredible, also, 
is the degree in which all natural means of rising through 
sense-impression to true knowledge, and all enticement to 
strengthen ourselves for this purpose, has vanished from our 
midst; because this unconnected teaching has dazzled, us 
with the charm of a language which we speak without having 
knowledge founded on sense-impression, of the ideas which 
we let fall from our mouths. I repeat: The mass of our 
public schools not only give us nothing, but, on the contrary, 
they quench all that in us which humanity has without schools, 
that which every savage possesses, to a degree of which -we 
can form no conception. This is a truth which is applicable 
to no part of the world and no age but ours. A man, who is 
instructed with monkish art to this wordy foolishness, is, so 
far, less susceptible to truth than a savage, and more unfit 
than he to make use of the guidance of Nature, and of what 
she does herself to make our ideas clear. These experiences 
have convinced . me that the public school-coach throughout 
all Europe mu^t_n^t_onl : y_Jbg_driYer' bp.ft.p.r^ if. 


roundTand put on jguite a new road. I am convinced of this 
})y experience, that its fundamental error, the empty speech 

154 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

of our age, and our onesided [superficial, thoughtless, sense 
less] jabbering must be brought to death and laid in the 
grave, before it will be possible, by instruction and language 
to bring forth truth and life in our race. Verily this is a 
hard saying, and I am inclined to say : " Who can hear it ? " 
But I am convinced by experiments that lie at the base of 
this statement, that in elementary language-teaching, we 
must reject all half measures ; all instruction-books (on this 
subject) must be set aside, which are based on the supposi 
tion 4 that a child can talk before he has learned to talk. All 
instruction books, the words of which bear the evidence of a 
complete grammar in their terminations, their prefixes, and 
their combinations, as well as in the composition of phrases 
and sentences, are in this way rendered unfit to develop 
clearly in the child's mind a consciousness of the causes and 
means, which led to this completion. Therefore I would, if 
I had influence, take apparently pitiless measures with these 
instruction-books in the school libraries ; or give up the at 
tempt to bring language teaching into harmony with the 
course of Nature. 5 

Dear friend ! It is generally known that Nature, in the first 
stages of the development of language in the race, wholly and 
entirely ignores the complicated and artificial combinations 
of the complete grammar ; and the child understands these 
combinations as little as the barbarian. Only gradually, by 
continuous practice in simple combinations, does he gain the 
power of understanding the complicated. Therefore, my ex 
ercises in language, from the first, putting aside all science 
and all knowledge, that can only be aimed at through com 
plete grammar, inquire into the elements of language ; and 
give the child the advantages of forming speech, in exactly the 
same gradual way in which Nature gave it to the human race. 

Dear friend ! Will men misunderstand me here too ? 
6 Will there be even a few, who wish with me, that I may 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 155 

succeed in checking and putting an end to the mad faith in 
words, that from the very nature of the subject, as well as from 
their artificial construction and combination, bear the stamp 
of incomprehensibility for the child ; and being void of all 
sense-impression, by their inner emptiness, work towards the 
devastation of the human mind, and lead to faith in empty 
noise and sound. May I succeed in making noise and sound 
unimportant by language-teaching itself ; and again, give 
sense-impression the preponderating influence which is due 
to it, by which alone speech may become the true basis of 
mental culture and of all real knowledge, and of the power 
of judgment resulting from it. 

Yes, friend. 7 1 know that for a long, long time there will 
be but few who do not misunderstand me, and who recog 
nise that dreams, sound and noise are absolutely worthless 
foundations for mental culture. ' The causes for this are 
many and deep seated. The love of babble is so closely con 
nected with respect for what is called good society, and its 
pretension to wide general culture, and still more with the 
livelihood of many thousands among us, that it must be long, 
very long, before the men of our time can take that truth 
with love into their hearts, against which they have hardened 
themselves so long. But I go on my way and say again : 
All science-teaching that is dictated, explained, analysed, 
by men, who have not learnt to think and to speak in 
accordance with the laws of Nature, all science-teaching 
of which the definitions are forced as if by magic into the 
minds of children like a Deus ex Machind, or rather are 
blown into their ears as by a stage-prompter, so far as it does 
this must necessarily sink into a miserable burlesque of 
education. For where the primary powers of the human 
mind are left asleep, and when words are crammed upon the 
sleeping powers, we make dreamers, who dream unnaturally 
and inconstantly, in proportion as the words, crammed into 

156 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

these miserable gaping creatures, are big and pretentious. 
8 Such pupils dream of anything in the world except that they 
are asleep and dreaming ; but the wakeful people round them 
feel all their presumption ; and those who see most consider 
them night wanderers, in the fullest and clearest sense of 
the word. 

The course of Nature in the development of our race is 
unchangeable. There are and can be no two good methods of 
instruction in this respect. There is but one and this is the 
one that rests entirely upon the eternal laws of Nature. But 
of bad methods there are infinitely many and the badness of 
every one increases, in proportion as it deviates from the 
laws of Nature, and decreases in proportion as it approaches 
to following these laws. 9 1 well know that this one good 
method is neither in my hands nor in any other man's, that 
we can only approach it. But its completion, its perfection 
must be the aim of him who would found human instruction 
upon truth, and thereby content human nature, and satisfy 
its natural claims. From this point of view, I declare, I 
pursue this method of instruction with all the powers that are 
in my hands, I have one rule for judging my own action, 
as well as the actions of all those who strive for this end by 
their fruits ye shall know them. 10 Human power, mother- wit, 
and common sense are to me the only evidence of the inner 
worth of any kind of instruction. Any method, that brands 
the brow of the learner with the stamp of completely stifled 
natural powers, and the want of common sense and mother- 
wit, is condemned by me, whatever other advantages it may 
have. I do not deny that even such methods may produce good 
tailors, shoemakers, tradesmen, and soldiers ; but I do deny 
that they can produce a tailor or a tradesman who is a man 
in the highest sense of the word. Oh ! if men would only 
comprehend that the aim of all instruction is, and can be, 
nothing but the development of human nature, by the 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 157 

harmonious cultivation of its powers and talents, and the 
promotion of manliness of life. Oh, if they would only ask 
themselves, at every step in their methods of education and 
instruction, " Does it further this end? " n 
. I will now again consider the influence of clear ideas upon 
the essential development of humanity. Clear ideas to the 
child are only those to u'hich his experience can bring no 
more clearness. This principle settles, firstly, the order of 
the powers and faculties to be developed, by which the 
clearness of all ideas can gradually be arrived at ; secondly, 
the order of objects by which exercises in definitions can be 
begun and carried on with the children ; lastly, the exact 
time at which definitions of any kind contain real truth for 
the child. 

It is evident that clear ideas must be worked out, or cul 
tivated in the child by teaching, before we can take for 
granted that he is able to understand the result of such 
training the clear idea, or rather its statement in words. 

The way to clear ideas depends on making all objects 
clear to the reason in their proper order. This order again 
rests on the harmony of all the arts, by which a child is 
enabled to express himself clearly about the properties of all 
things, particularly about the measure, number, and form of 
any object. 12 In this way, and no other, can the child be 
led to a comprehensive knowledge of the whole nature of any 
object, and become capable of defining it, that is, of stating 
its whole nature, with the utmost precision and brevity, in 
words. All definitions, that is, all such clear statements in 
words, of the nature of any object contain essential truth for 
the child, only so far as he has a clear, vivid background 
of sense-impression of the object. Where thorough clearness, 
in the sense-impression of the object to be defined, is wanting, 
he only learns to play with words, to deceive himself and 
blindly believe in words, whose sounds convey no idea to 

158 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

him, or give him no other thought than that he has just 
given out a sound. 


In rainy weather toadstools grow fast on every dungheap ; 
and in the same way definitions, not founded on sense-im 
pression, produce, just as quickly, a fungus- like wisdom, 
which dies just as quickly in the sunlight, and which looks 
upon the clear sky as poison to it. The baseless, wordy show 
of such baseless wisdom produces men, who believe they 
have reached the end in all subjects, because their life is a 
tiresome babble about this end. They never reach it, never 
pursue it, because all their life it has not had that attractive 
charm for their observing powers (Ansch.) which is generally 
necessary to produce a manly effort. Our generation is full 
of such men. They lie sick of a kind of wisdom, that leads 
us pro formd to the goal of knowledge, like cripples on the 
racecourse, without being able to make this goal their goal, 
until their feet are cured. The power of describing generally 
precedes definition. I can describe what is quite clear to 
me, but I cannot on that account define it. That is, I can 
say exactly what its properties are, but not what it is. I 
only know the object, the individual. I cannot yet point out 
its relations or its kind. Of that which is not clear to me, I 
cannot say exactly what its properties are, let alone what it 
is. I cannot describe it, much less define it. When a third 
person, to whom the matter is clear, puts words into my 
mouth, with which he makes it clear to people in his own 
condition, it is not on that account clear to me, but it is and 
will remain his clear thing, not mine, inasmuch as the words 
of another cannot be for me what they are for him the exact 
expression of his own idea, which is to him perfectly clear. 

This purpose of leading .men, with psychological art, and 
according to the laws of their physical mechanism, to clear 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 159 

ideas, and to their expression, definitions, demands a grada 
tion of statements about the physical world before definitions. 
This gradation proceeds from sense-impressions of separate 
objects to their names, from their names to determining their 
characteristics, that is the power of describing, and from the 
power of describing to the power of specializing, that is, of 
defining. Wisdom in guiding sense-impression is obviously 
the beginning-point, on which this chain of means for attain 
ing clear ideas must depend ; and it is obvious that the final 
fruit, the end of all instruction, the clearness of all ideas, de 
pends essentially on the complete power of its first germina 

Wherever, in the whole circle of all-working Nature, any 
thing is imperfect in the germ, there it has lost the power of 
becoming perfect in its complete ripeness. Everything that 
is imperfect in the germ will be crippled in its growth, in 
the outward development of its parts. This is as true of 
the products of your mind, as of the products of your garden. 
It is as true of the results of a single idea gained by sense- 
impression, as it is certain of the condition of a grown 

The most important means of preventing confusion, incon 
sequence, and superficiality in human education, rests prin 
cipally on care in making the first sense-impression of things 
most essential for us to know, as clear, correct, and compre 
hensive as possible, when they are first brought before our 
senses, for contemplation ( Ansch.}. Even at the infant's cradle 
we must begin to take the training of our race out of the 
hands of blind, sportive Nature, and put it into the hands of 
that better power, which the experience of ages has taught 
us to abstract from the eternal laws of our nature. 

13 You must generally distinguish between the laws of 
Nature and her course, that is, her single workings, and 
statements about those workings. In her laws she is eternal 

160 Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

truth, and for us, the eternal standard of all truth ; but in 
her modifications, in which her laws apply to every individual 
and to every case, her truth does not satisfy and content our 
race. The positive truth of the condition and circumstances 
of any individual case claims the same equal right of neces 
sity, by virtue of eternal laws, as the common law of human 
nature itself. Consequently, the claim of necessity of both 
laws must be brought into harmony, if they are to work 
satisfactorily on men. Care for this union is essential for 
our race. The accidental is, by its existence and its conse 
quences, as necessary as the eternal and unchangeable ; but 
the accidental must, from its very existence and its inevitable 
consequences, be brought into harmony with the eternal and 
unchangeable in human nature by means of the freedom of 
the human will. 

Nature, on whom the inevitable laws of the existence and 
consequences of the accidental are based, seems only devoted 
to the whole, and is careless of the' individual that she is 
affecting externally. On this side she is blind ; and being 
blind, she is not the Nature that comes, or can come into 
harmony with the seeing, spiritual, moral nature of men. 
On the contrary, it is only spiritual and moral nature that is 
able to bring itself into harmony with the physical and that 
can, and ought to do so. The laws of our senses, by virtue of 
the essential claims of our nature, must be subordinated to 
the laws of our moral and spiritual life. Without this sub 
ordination it is impossible that the physical part of our 
nature can ever influence the actual final result of our educa 
tion, the production of manliness. Man will only become 
man through his inner and spiritual life, He becomes 
through it independent, free, and contented. Mere physical 
Nature leads him not hither. She is in her very nature 
blind ; her ways are ways of darkness and death. Therefore 
the education and training of our race must be taken out of 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 161 

the hands of blind sensuous Nature, and the influence of her 
darkness and death, and put into the hands of our moral and 
spiritual being, and its divine, eternal, inner light and truth. 

All, all that you carelessly leave to outer blind Nature 
sinks. That is true of lifeless nature as of living. Wher 
ever you carelessly leave the earth to Nature, it bears weeds 
and thistles. Wherever you leave the education of your race 
to her, she goes no further than a confused impression on 
the senses, that is not adapted to your power of comprehen 
sion, nor to that of your child, in the way that is needed 
for the best instruction. In order to lead a child, in the 
most certain way, to correct and perfect knowledge of a tree 
or plant, it is not the best way, by any means, to turn him, 
without care, into a wood or meadow, where trees and 
plants of all kinds grow together. Neither trees nor plants 
here come before his eyes in such a manner as is calculated 
to make him observe their nature and relationships, and to 
prepare for a general knowledge of their subject by the first 
impression. In order to lead your child by the shortest way 
to the end of instruction, clear ideas, you must with great 
care, first put those objects before his eyes (in every branch 
of learning), which bear the most essential characteristics 
of the branch to which this object belongs, visibly and dis 
tinctly, and which are therefore fitted to strike the eye with 
the essential nature rather than the variable qualities. If 
you neglect this, you lead the child, at the very first glance, 
to look upon the accidental qualities as essential, and in this 
at least to delay the knowledge of truth, and miss the short 
est road of rising from misty sense-impressions to clear ideas. 

But if this error in your method of instruction is avoided, 
if the sequences of subjects in all branches of your instruc 
tion are brought to the child's sense-impression so arranged 
from the very beginning, that at the very first observation 
(Ansch.} the impression of the essential nature of an object 


1 62 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

begins to overpower the impression of its qualities, the child 
learns, from the very first, to subordinate the accidental 
properties of an object to its essential nature. He is, un 
doubtedly, moving on the safe path, in which his power 
develops daily of connecting, in the simplest manner, all acci 
dental qualities with his full consciousness of the essential 
nature of all objects and their inner truth, and so to read all 
Nature as an open book. As a child, left to itself, peeping 
into the world without understanding, sinks daily from error 
to error, through the confusion of separate scraps of knowledge 
which he has found while so groping ; so, on the contrary, a 
child who is led on this road from his cradle, rises daily from 
truth to truth. All that exists, or at least all that comes 
within the range of his experience, unites itself clearly and 
comprehensively with the power already existing in him, and 
there is no error behind his views. No bias to any kind of 
error has been artificially and methodically organized in him, 
and the nihil admirari, which has hitherto been considered 
the privilege of old age, becomes, thanks to this training, the 
portion of innocence and youth. Having arrived. at this, if 
he possesses fair average abilities, the child will necessarily 
reach the final goal of instruction, clear ideas, it matters 
little for the time being whether these lead him to the conclu 
sion that we know nothing, or that we understand everything. 
In order to reach this high end, to organize the means and 
secure them, and especially to give the first sense-impressions 
of objects that breadth and accuracy which they demand, in 
order to avoid deficiencies and error at the foundation, and 
to build our sequences of methods of gaining knowledge on 
truth, I have kept all these objects fully in view in the 
Mother's Book. Friend, I have succeeded ; I have so far 
confirmed my powers of gaining knowledge through my 
senses by this book, that I foresee that children trained by 
it, may throw away the book, and in Nature and all that 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 163 

surrounds them, find a better guide to my goal than that 
which I have given them. 

Friend, the book as yet is not ; yet I already see it super 
seded by its own action. 

Note for New Edition. 

The Mother's Book, of which this is a dreamy account, never ex 
isted. At that moment I thought it easy to complete it. Its non- 
appearance is explained by the erroneous views in which I was then 
involved. This suggests a closer examination into the exact degree 
of truth I had then attained, with regard to my bold ideals, and the 
glaring deficiencies which were caused by immature judgment. It 
is now twenty years since these utterances, and yet I am hardly 
beginning to be able to give myself a clear account of the views 
here expressed. I must ask myself, "How have these twenty years 
passed in regard to these ideals ? " and I rejoice to be able to say at 
last : However much they appeared to hinder my attempts to develop 
the vague ideas I then held, in that same degree they actually 
favoured this development, so far as it was attainable by a man of 
my character. Time has quenched my hopes, and I no longer stretch 
out my hand to pluck the moon from heaven, as a child does in his 
nurse's lap. 


Dear Friend ! The statement with which I ended my last 
letter is important, and I now repeat more emphatically, the 
training for the purpose of instruction which I spoke of just 
now, is only adapting the course of nature for that end ; but 
there is a higher means possible of attaining it, a completion 
of this adapted course of nature, a course of pure reason. 
A training of pure reason is possible. It is possible for my 
nature to raise all that is uncertain in human sense-impres 
sion to the most definite truth. It is possible for my nature 
to separate sense-impression itself from the uncertainty of 
its origin in mere sensation, and to make it the work of the 
higher power of my being, that is of my reason. It is 
possible for the ^8rt, thus ennobled by the hand of Nature, 
to make the wild man's living power of observation more than 

164 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

the mere mechanism of the senses. It is possible to add. to 
this living power of observation my power of reason. It is 
possible to unite the restoration of this living power of obser 
vation with the most sublime study of my race, the study of 
absolute infallible truth. 

Dear Friend ! If my life has any value, it is that I have 
raised the square to be the foundation of a system of teach 
ing by sense-impression, that the people never- had before. 
Through it I have prepared a series of methods for the 
basis of our knowledge such as only existed before for speech 
and number, which are means of instruction subordinate to it, 
and which had never been worked out for form itself. . In 
this way I have brought sense-impression and judgment, 
sense-mechanism and the course of pure reason into harmony 
with each other ; and while, through this method, I have 
put aside the variegated hurly burly of thousands of separate 
truths, I have turned instruction back to truth *. 

Friend ! For upwards of twenty years I hardly knew to 
what the following passage, in the preface of " Leonard and 
Gertrude," would lead. " I take no share in all the strife of 
men about their opinions, but whatever makes them good, 
brave, true and honest, whatever can bring love of Grod and 
love of one's neighbour into the heart, and happiness and 
blessing into the house, that, I think, is above all strife, and 
is put into every heart for us all." 

Now the course of my attempts makes me see, that this is 
very true of the kind of instruction, the knowledge and intro 
duction of which I am striving after ; in this too, I take no 
part in all the disputes of men. Purely as a means of develop 
ing all our powers and talents, by its very nature, it extends 
its influence and its results, not one step beyond that which 
is incontestable. Purely as a means of developing our 
powers, it is not the teaching of truths, but of truth. It is 

* This beginning is omitted in Ed. 2, probably by an oversight. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 165 

not a combatant against error, it is the inner development 
of moral and mental powers, that are opposed to error. It is 
purely a guide to the faculty of recognising truth and error. 
The very nature of its effort is only to base the good cultiva 
tion of this faculty on psychological grounds, and to supply 
all its needs. Friend ! I see both how far this expression 
leads, and how far distant I am from it. I recognise only the 
tracks of the means, by which it may be possible to reach this 
end as a whole. Yet faith in the possibility of reaching this 
end lives, undying, in my soul. But how, when, and through 
whom my anticipations can or will be fulfilled. I really 
know not. There is no presumption in my soul. In all 
my efforts, the results of which lead me to these expressions, 
I seek only to make easier and more simple the methods of 
instructing the lowest classes, in my immediate neighbour 
hood, whom I saw to be unhappy, discontented, and danger 
ous, in consequence of their wrong training. My heart was 
inclined to this effort from my youth up. From my youth 
up I have had opportunities, granted to few, of learning the 
causes of the moral, mental, and domestic degradation of 
the people, and the suffering, deserved or not, intimately 
connected with it. You may believe me I have borne some 
suffering and some wrongs with the people. I say it to 
excuse the apparent boldness of some of my assertions, for 
in my inmost soul lies only the ardent desire to help the 
people in the sources of their backwardness and the misery 
arising from it, not the least presumption, no thought of 
being able to do it. I pray you, consider all my apparently 
bold expressions in this light. When, for instance, I say 
distinctly, the development of all human powers proceeds 
from an organism, the action of which is absolutely certain, 
I do not say that the laws of this organism are clearly known 
by me, nor that I recognise their whole scope. When I say 
there is a course of pure reason in instruction, I do not say 

1 66 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

I have proved and practised these laws in their full perfec 
tion. In the whole account of my doings I have tried far 
more to make the truth of my principles clear, than to bring 
my very restricted action to the standard of what might 
and must come, from the complete development of these 
principles, for the human race. I do not know myself ; and 
I feel daily more and more how much I do not know. 1 

Whatever theory and judgment exist in my whole state 
ment are absolutely nothing but the result of a limited, 
very laborious, and I must add seldom successful, series of 
experiments. I ought not and I will not conceal that if a man 
who had long ago sunk into weariness, and become a poor 
tired creature, who, until his hair turned grey, had been 
considered everywhere, absolutely impracticable by practical 
men, had not finally succeeded in becoming a schoolmaster, 
and if Buss, Krilsi and Tobler had not come with a power 
of helping his utter helplessness in all arts and activities 
(Fcrt.\ as I never dared to hope, my theories on this subject 
would have died within me, like the glow of a burning 
mountain that can find no outlet. I should have sunk into 
my grave like a dreaming fool, on whom no charitable 
judgment would be passed, misunderstood by the good, and 
despised by the bad. My only merit, my desire, my inces 
sant ever-growing desire for the salvation of the people, 
my laborious days, the sacrifice of my life, the murder of my 
self would have been given over to the mockery of rogues. 
I should not have had a friend, who dared to do justice to 
my despised shade. I could not have defended myself ; I could 
not have done it. I should have sunk into the grave, angry 
with myself and despairing at my own misery and that of 
the people. Friend ! sinking thus, I should only have re 
tained the miserable power of complaining against my 
fate. I should, I could not have helped it, I should have 
imputed the guilt of my ruin to myself alone. The awful 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 167 

ideal of my life would have stood before my eyes, all in 
shadow, without any mitigating beam of light. 

Friend ! Imagine my feelings, my despair, this ideal of 
shadow, and the thought, that in my ruin I should [myself] 
have ruined the purpose of my life ; and verily by my own 
fault I should have lost it. There is a God who gave it 
me again, after I had lost it. I failed over and over again 
like a child, even when it seemed that the means thereto 
were given into my hands. Ah! I behaved long like nobody 
else, and things went with me as with no one else. Not 
only did my utter want of developed practical skill and the 
entire incompatibility between the scope of my will and the 
limits of my power, impede from my childhood the attain 
ment of my goal; but each year I became more unfit for 
everything that could really help towards its outward 
attainment, for that which was essentially necessary for the 
outward attainment of my end. 

But is it my fault, that the course of a life constantly 
crushed, did not let me go on one bit of the way with an 
unbroken heart ? Is it my fault, that all signs of interest 
on the part of the happy, or at least the not miserable, have 
been erased long ago from my soul, as the traces of an island 
sunk in the deep ? Is it my fault, that men around me, 
around me so long ! have seen nothing in me but a bleeding 
creature, crushed and thrown on the wayside, without 
consciousness, in whom the aim of life, like an ear of corn 
among thorns, thistles, and marshy reeds, budded up very 
slowly, in constant danger of death and suffocation ? Is it 
my fault, that the aim of my life now remains like a bare 
rock in the flood, from which the wasting waters have 
washed away every trace of the beautiful earth that once 
covered it ? 

Yes, Friend ; it is my fault. I feel it deeply, and bow 
myself to the dust, not indeed before the judgment of bad 

1 68 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

men, buzzing round me like a disturbed nest of wasps, but 
before the ideal of myself, and of the inner worth to which 
I might have risen, if in the midst of the everlasting night 
of my forlorn life, I had been able to rise above my fate, 
and above the horror of days, in which all that cheers and 
elevates human nature, vanished ; and all that confuses and 
degrades it, pressed round me unceasingly and constantly, 
falling with all its weight on the weakness of my heart, that 
found no support in my head, against the blows that broke 
on it. But it is my fault, friend. All my misfortune is my 
own fault. I could have done it ; I ought to have done it ; I 
might say I determined to do it. I did determine to raise 
myself above my fate if that can be called a determination 
which I did not carry out. This much is true. I have 
grown old ; the misery of my days has brought me near my 
grave, before the whole shattering of my nerves has com 
pletely destroyed my balance, and before the last revolt 
within me finally made me throw away myself and my 
sympathy with the human race. 

Friend ! A woman greater than any man, a woman, who 
was only ennobled, never degraded by the misfortunes of a 
life, that far outweighed my misery, saw long ago my despair 
of myself and answered my distracted words, " It does not 
matter" with " Pestalozzi ! if a man once utters that word 
of despair may God help him, he can help himself no more." 

I saw the glance of sadness and anxiety in her eyes, as 
she spoke the word of warning ; and, friend, if I had no 
more guilt in the final disappearance of my better self than 
that I could hear this word and forget it again, my guilt 
would be greater than that of all men who have never seen 
this virtue and never heard this word. 

Friend ! Let me now forget my action and my purpose for 
a moment, and give myself wholly up to the feeling of sad 
ness that overwhelms me, because I still live and am no 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 169 

more my self. I have lost all ; I have lost my self. Yet 
hast Thou, Lord, preserved the desire of my life in me ; 
and hast not destroyed the object of my pains before my 
eyes, as Thou hast destroyed the aim of a thousand men who 
ruined their own way, before their eyes and mine. Thou 
hast preserved the work of my life in the midst of my ruin, 
and hast cast an evening glow over my hopeless, dyiog old 
age ; the lovely sight outweighs the sorrows of my life. 
Lord, I am unworthy of the faith and mercy that Thou hast 
shown me. Thou, Thou alone hast pitied the crushed worm. 
The bruised reed Thou hast not broken, and the smoking 
flax Thou hast not quenched. Till my death Thou hast not 
turned Thy eyes away from the offering, which from child 
hood I wished to make, and have never been able to make, 
to the forsaken in the world ! 

Note for the New Edition. 

I read this letter, written twenty years ago, with heartfelt sorrow. 
It expresses my depression and my despair at the course of my life 
and the annihilation of my hopes, at the very moment when a new, 
living path for my purpose was opened. I cannot say how my heart 
beats, and how the impression of feelings long ago subdued, and 
raised again, is renewed. The words of self-accusation shake my 
soul, as the mitigation of these accusations confuse it. Gladly would 
I fall on my knees and pray, as I read this letter again, at a time, 
when after twenty years I again see a new, living path opened for 
my purpose. Header ! how I should feel encouraged, when after so 
many years I stand again at the point at which I stood then. I 
must repeat, speaking of my efforts and hopes, that without the 
almost miraculous assistance of Providence, without the co-operation 
of friends (in whom I recognised almost heroic power) I should un 
doubtedly again have come to a state in which my laborious days, 
the giving up of my life, and the sacrifice of my family would to 
day have been given over to the mockery of a blind crowd ! 

Reader ! How I gain fresh courage, as after so many years I read 
again the passage : " Friend, imagine my heart, my despair, and 
this ideal of shadow, and the thought, that in my ruin I had ruined 
the aim of my life." Then, reader, imagine how my heart soars up 
in thankfulness to God, who has preserved the desire of my life in 
me, and has not wholly destroyed the object of my pains before my 

I/O How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

And yet, reader, if this had been, if I had really sunk into, and 
not only been nearly brought to despair, but had been wholly con 
quered by it, I should yet bear witness to-day, as in that letter, half 
accusing myself of my misfortunes, and sink forbearing, forgiving, 
thanking and loving into the grave. Bat, reader, how my heart 
beats high when I can say, as twenty years ago, " The Lord hath 
helped." How my heart beats as I repeat the words of that letter : 
" Thou, O Lord ! hast preserved the desire of my life, and hast not 
destroyed the object of my pains before my eyes, as Thou hast de 
stroyed the desire of thousands who spoilt their own path, before 
their eyes and mine. Thou hast preserved the work of my life in 
the midst of my ruin. Thou hast cast an evening glow over my 
hopeless old age, and the sight of its beauty compensates for my 
sufferings. Lord, I am unworthy of Thy loving kindness and faith 
fulness. Thou, Thou alone hast had pity for the crushed worm ; 
Thou, Thou alone hast left the bruised reed unbroken, and the 
smoking flax unquenched. Thou hast not rejected the sacrifice that 
from childhood I would have made for the poor and forsaken in the 
land, and have never made." 

Header, forgive the repetition of the same words in the same page. 
But the ardent desire of my heart will not permit me to oppose this 
new feeling of salvation and happiness, that must be expressed and 
put down in words, that I wrote twenty years ago. I must use them 
to express the feelings of the present hour with the words of to-day. 
You will, I know, willingly forgive thjs repetition. 


In my last letter my feelings would not allow me to say 
more. I put my pen away, and I did well. What are words 
when the heart bows itself in dark despair, or rises in 
highest rapture to the clouds ? 

Friend, what are words even apart from these heights 
and depths ! 

In the eternal nothingness of the most sublime character 
istic of our race, human speech, and then again in its 
sublime power, I see the mark of the external limitation 
of the shell in which my cramped-up spirit pines. I see 
in it the ideal of the lost innocence of my race, but I see in 
it also the ideal of the shame which the memory of this lost 
holiness always awakens in me, so long as I am not wholly 
unworthy. This feeling, so long as I have not sunk in the 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 171 

depths, ever revives within me the power of seeking what I 
have lost, and of saving myself from ruin. Friend, so Jong 
as man is worthy of the sublime characteristic of his race, 
speech, so long as he uses it as a powerful means of expres 
sion, and for the maintenance of his human superiority, 
with a pure desire to ennoble himself and humanize himself 
by it, it is a high and holy thing. But when he is no longer 
worthy ; when he no longer uses it as a powerful expression 
of his human superiority, and with no pure desire to 
humanize himself, it will be nothing but a natural inex 
haustible source of illusion, the use of which will lead to 
the loss of his manliness, 'to effeminacy and brutality. It 
will be to him the first and most powerful means of com 
pletely ruining his moral and spiritual nature, and the first 
source of his domestic misery, civil wrong-doing and wrong 
suffering, and the public crime arising from it. Meanwhile 
he, most skilfully, makes it into a cloak for all this ruin 
and crime. It is incalculable how deeply the depravity of 
our language has spread, how deep a hold it has on all the 
aspects of the world of our time, how its tone is to be found 
in good society, at court, in the law courts, in books, in 
comedies, in periodicals, in daily papers, in short, it is every 
where in our midst, with all its dissolute force. It is 
notorious that now, more than ever before, it is encouraged 
from the cradle ; it is inspired by the school ; it is 
strengthened through life ; I might even say, it speaks from 
the pulpit and the council-chamber, down to the tavern and 
the beershop ; it is heard among us everywhere. All the 
sources of human depravity and sensuality find a centre in 
it, in which they collect and unite for their common interest, 
and become infectious. By this, and this only, can we ex 
plain the terrible fact, that the depravity of language grows 
with the depravity of men. Through it, the wretched be 
come more wretched ; through it the night of error becomes 

172 Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

still darker ; through it the crimes of the wicked still in 
crease. Friend ! the crimes of Europe are still increasing 
through idle talk. It is connected with over-civilization, 
and its results are influencing the condition of all our 
feelings, thoughts, and actions. It is connected with the 
far-reaching increase of our slavery. It is intimately con 
nected with the equally far-reaching loss of independence, 
not only in the common, lower classes of the country, but of 
our so-called gentry, notables, and persons of importance ; 
and it is also connected with the increasing degeneration 
of oar middle class, the recognised first and most essential 
support of all true political power, and civil happiness. 
The daily increasing list of publications is only an insignifi 
cant symptom of this great evil of our time. But the public 
and private placards, increasing daily in number and size, 
on the corners of our walls, are often more significant indi 
cations of this evil than the swollen list of publications. 
But in any case we cannot guess to what this chattering 
degeneracy will lead a generation, which has already 
reached the state of so many countries in our part of the 
world, by its weakness, confusion, violence, and inconse 
quence. 1 

But I return to my path. In my experimental inquiries into 
the subject, I started from no positive notion of teaching 
I had none I ask myself simply, " What would you do, if 
you wished to produce in a single child, all the knowledge 
and ability (Pert. 2 ) that it needs, in order, by wise care of its 
essential concerns, to attain to inward content ? 

But I see now that in the whole series of my letters to you, 
I have only considered the first portion of the subject, the 
training of the child's judgment and knoidedge ; but not 
the training of his activities (Pert. 2 ), so far as these are not 
especially activities brought out by instruction [in knowledge 
and science]. And yet the activities that a man needs to 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 173 

attain inner content by their possession, are not actually 
limited to the few subjects that the nature of instruction 
forced me to touch upon. 

I cannot leave these gaps untouched. Perhaps the most 
fearful gift that a fiendish spirit has made to this age is 
knowledge without power of doing (Pert.} and insight with 
out that power of exertion or of overcomimg that makes it 
possible and easy for our life to be in harmony with our 
inmost nature. 

Man ! needing much and desiring all, thou must, to 
satisfy thy wants and wishes, know and think, but for this 
thou must also [can and] do. And knowing and doing are so 
closely connected, that if one cease the other ceases with it. 3 
But this harmony between thy life and thy inmost nature 
can only be, if the powers of doing (Pert.} (without which 
it is impossible to satisfy thy wishes and wants) are culti 
vated in thee with just the same art, and raised to the same 
degree of perfection, as thy insight into the objects of thy 
wants and wishes. The cultivation of these activities rests 
then on the same organic 4 laws as the cultivation of know 

The organism 4 of Nature is one and the same in the living 
plant, in the animal, whose nature is merely physical, and 
in man, whose nature is also physical, but who possesses will. 
In the threefold results which Nature is capable of pro 
ducing in me, she is always the same. Her laws work 
either physically upon my physical nature, in the same 
manner as upon animals generally, or secondly, they W9rk 
upon me so far as they determine the sensuous basis of my 
judgment and will. In this respect they are the sensuous 
basis of my opinions, my inclinations, and my resolutions. 
Thirdly, they work upon me so far as they make me capable 
of that practical skill (Fert.\ the need of which I feel through 
my instinct, recognise through my insight, and the learn- 

174 How Gertrude Teaches Htr Children. 

ing of which I command through my will. But in this 
respect also, the Art must take the cultivation of our race out 
of the hands of Nature, or rather from her accidental attitude 
towards each individual, in order to put it in the hands of 
knowledge, power and methods which she has taught us 
for ages, to the advantage of the race. 

Certainly men never lose the feeling for the necessity of 
being cultivated in the activities required in ordinary life, 
even in the deepest decadence caused by over-refinement and 
artificial training. 5 Still less does the individual man lose 
this consciousness. " Natural instinct, in all moral, mental, 
and practical things, drives him with its whole force into 
paths of life, in which this consciousness of need increases 
and develops daily. This tends in every way to take his 
improvement out of the hands of blind Nature, and out 
of the one-sided, over-refined and artificial training of his 
senses, in this case intimately connected with the blind 
ness of Nature, and put it into the hands of those intelli 
gent powers, methods and arts which have been raising our 
race for ages. But in every case bodies of men succumb 
to the claims of sensuous nature, and its over-refined and 
artificial training, far, far more than individuals. This 
is true even of governments. They succumb as bodies, 
masses or corporations to the claims of our sensuous nature 
and its atrophy, far more than individuals, or even the 
individual members of the corporations. It is certain, in 
matters in which a father would not easily act wrongly 
towards his son, or a teacher towards his pupils, a govern 
ment may very easily act wrongly towards its people. 
It cannot well be otherwise. Human nature acts with far 
greater gentleness and purer power on each individual, 
than it ever can on masses, corporations, or communi 
ties of men, whatever they may be. The first common 
instinct of human nature remains, and keeps itself infinitely 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 175 

purer and more powerful, in the individual, than in any 
corporation or community. Instinct stimulates no body or 
community of men as it can and does stimulate the individ 
ual. It loses the basis of harmony, from which its influence 
on the whole compass of human powers, may and should start 
and aspire. It is undeniable, that whatever is holy and divine 
in instinct expresses itself in the individual by its harmo 
nious influence on all natural powers. This holy and divine 
quality in instinct becomes crippled and ineffectual (whatever 
form its one-sidedness may take) in every case where it influ 
ences any mass or body of men in their collective capacity, and 
by this very influence produces in them an esprit dn corps 
with its deadening influences. Instinct affects masses of 
men of whatever kind with the same deadening force 
that every kind of . union among men produces in itself ; and 
wherever this is the case, there its influence on truth and 
justice, and in consequence, on national enlightenment and 
national happiness is inevitably hindered. This distinction, 
between the effect of instinct upon individuals, and upon 
bodies of men, is of the highest importance and deserves far 
more attention than it gets. It throws, when we under 
stand it, decided light on many phenomena of human life, 
particularly on many actions of governments, which else 
would be incomprehensible. It also explains why we must 
not expect too much of governments with regard to the care 
of the individual, of the education of the people, and every 
thing on which the common weal depends things which 
can only be accomplished by individuals. No, it is an 
eternal truth, easily explained by human nature, and shown 
in all the history of the world, that what can be done by 
the life and energy of individuals in the state, that is by 
the people, cannot be done so well by the government. 
We cannot expect it, much less demand it. The only 
thing we can ask is that the individual should not 

176 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

be allowed to sink down into want of power and will. 
Governments ought to try and guard against this want of 
power in the individual, in those matters in which he could 
accomplish and contribute anything himself to forward the 
public good ; and should neglect nothing that every individual 
needs for the cultivation of his intelligence, disposition, and 
abilities, in order as an individual to be able to do his 
part for the public good. But. it grieves me to say that the 
governments of our time are not strong and living enough 
for the practical skill required for this end. It is undeni 
able, that the people of our part of the world do not enjoy 
the practical help that each man needs for the cultivation 
of his intelligence, disposition, and ability (Pert.}, in order, 
on the one hand, by wise care of his own business, to 
attain inner self-content, and on the other to facilitate, provide 
and secure to the state all that it needs, in order, as a state, 
to find help, and assistance in its millions of individuals, 
for that which it can only maintain through the good con 
dition of the moral, mental and practical powers of these 
individuals. 6 



All sfc*tt (Fert.\ on the possession of which depend all the 

powers of knowing and doing, that are required by an educated 

* Note Pestalozzi. Much as I have wished and resolved to leave the 
original edition of this work unaltered, and to give free course to the 
stream of my opinions and thoughts at that time, I have here sup 
pressed a long passage that expressed my feelings about the position 
of the people and our country at that time, although the horrible 
events of the twenty years, between the first and second edition, have 
in many ways confirmed these opinions. I was obliged to suppress 
them. I now regard the condition of the people with more sorrow 
than zeal ; and my views of remedies for the evils of the time tend 
rather to more sorrow than to the eloquence of youthful zeal, the 
shrill expressions of which, with whatever reserve of love, truth 
and justice, rather extinguish than kindle the holy, eternal, inner 
nature of love. 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. \ 77 

mind and a noble heart, comes as little of itself as the intel 
ligence and knowledge that man needs for it. As the culti 
vation of mental powers and faculties pre-supposes a psycho 
logically arranged gradation of means, adapted to human 
nature, so the cultivation of the faculties which these powers 
of doing (Pert.} presuppose, rests on the deep-rooted me 
chanism of an A B C of Art / that is on universal laws of 
the Art, by following which the children may be educated by 
a series of exercises, proceeding gradually from the simplest 
to the most complicated. These must result, with physical 
certainty, in obtaining for them a daily increasing facility in 
all that they need for their education. But this A B C is 
anything but found. It is quite natural that we seldom find 
anything that nobody looks for. But if we would seek it, 
with all the earnestness with which we are wont to seek 
any small advantage in the money-market, it would be easy 
to find, and when found, would be a great blessing to man 
kind. It must start from the simplest manifestations of 
physical powers, which contain the foundations of the most 
complicated human practical ability 7 (Pert.}. Striking and 
carrying, thrusting and throwing, drawing and turning, en 
circling and swinging, etc., are extremely simple expressions 
of our physical powers. In themselves, essentially different, 
they contain, all together and each separately, the founda 
tions of all possible actions (Pert.), even the most complicated, 
on which human callings depend. Therefore, it is obvious 
that the A B C of actions must start altogether from early 
psychologically arranged exercises in these actions, all and 
each. This A B C of limb exercise must, naturally, be brought 
into harmony with the A B C of sense exercises, and with all 
the mechanical practice in thinking, and with exercises in 
form and number-teaching. 

But as we are far behind the Appenzell woman and her 
paper bird, in the ABC of Anschauung, so are we far 


1/8 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

behind the greatest barbarians in the A B C of actions, 
(gymnastics) (Fert.\ and their skill in striking and throwing, 
thrusting and dragging. 

We want a graduated series of exercises, from their 
simplest beginning to their highest perfection, that is, to 
the utmost delicacy of nerve power, which enables us to per 
form with certainty and in a hundred different ways, the 
actions of thrusting and parrying, swinging and throwing. 
We want, too, actions exercising hand and foot in opposite, 
as well as in the same directions'. All these, as far as popu 
lar instruction is concerned, are castles in the air. The 
ground is clear. We have spelling schools, writing schools, 
catechism (Heidelberger) schools only, and we want 
men's schools. 8 But these can be of no use to those whose 
whole idea is to keep things as they are, to the jobbery, and 
injustice, that are so readily maintained by this idea, nor to 
the nervous state of the gentry whose interests are involved 
in this contemptible state of laissez-faire. [But I almost 
forget the point at which I began.] 

The mechanism of activities takes the same course as that 
of knowledge, and its foundations, with regard to self-educa 
tion, are perhaps still more far-reaching. In order to be able, 
you must act in order to knotv, you must, in many cases, 
keep passive ; you can only see and hear. Hence, in relation 
to your activities, you are not only the centre of their cul 
tivation, but in many cases, you determine their ultimate 
use always within the laws of the physical mechanism. 
As in the infinite range of lifeless nature, its situation, 
needs and relations have determined the special character 
istics of every object ; so in the infinite range of living 
nature that produces the development of thy faculties, situ 
ation, needs and relations determine the sort of power (Pert.) 
that you specially need. 

^These considerations throw light on the mode of developing 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 179 

our activities, and also on the character of the activities 
when developed. Every influence, that in the development 
of our powers and activities, turns us away from the centre 
point, on which rests the personal responsibility of every 
thing that man is bound throughout his life to do, to bear, to 
attend and provide for, must be regarded as an influence 
opposed to wise manly education. Every influence leading 
us to apply our powers and activities in a way that turns us 
away from this central point, and thus weakens or robs the 
activities of the special character, which our duty towards 
ourselves requires of us, or puts us out of accord with them, 
or in some way or other makes us incapable of serving our 
fellow-men or our country, must be regarded as a deviation 
from the laws of nature, from the harmony with myself and 
my surroundings. Therefore it is a hindrance to my self- 
culture, to the training for my calling, and to my sense of 
duty. It is a delusive and self-destructive deviation from 
the pure and beautiful dependence of my relations in life on 
my real character. 10 Every kind of instruction or education, 
every kind of life, every use of our trained powers and talents 
in life, which bears in itself the seeds of such discord be 
tween our education and our actions and the real character 
of our being, our relations and our duties, must be guarded 
against by every father and mother, who have their children's 
life-long peace of mind at heart, since we must seek the 
sources of the infinite evil of our baseless sham-enlighten 
ment, and the misery of our masquerade revolution, in 
errors of this kind; since both find a place alike in the 
instruction, and in the life, of our educated and uneducated 
people. The necessity of great care for the psychological 
manner of developing and cultivating our powers of doing 
(Pert.), as well as the psychological training for the 
development of our power of knowing, is obvious. This 
psychological training for the development of our powers 

180 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

of knowing is based on an A B C of Anschauung, and must 
lead the child, by this fundamental clue, to the fullest 
purity of clear ideas. For the cultivation of the activities, 
on which the sense-foundation of our virtue rests, we must 
seek for an A B C for developing this power and on 
its lines a sense-cultivation, a physical dexterity of those 
powers and activities which are needed for the life-duties 
of our race, 11 which we must recognise as leading strings 
in the nursery of virtue, until our senses, ennobled by this 
training, need the leading-strings no longer. In 12 this way 
a general kind of education, suitable to the human race, 
can be developed, for training those practical abilities which 
are necessary for the fulfilment of the duties of life. It 
goes from complete power of doing to the recognition of 
law, just as the education of intelligence goes from com 
plete sense-impression to clear ideas, and from these to 
their expression in words, to definitions. Therefore it 
is, that as definitions before sense-impression lead men 
to presumptuous chatter, so word-teachings about virtue 
and faith, preceding the realities of living sense-impres 
sions, lead men astray to similar confusion about them. 
It is undeniable, that the presumption of these confusions, by 
virtue of the inner profanity and impurity that lie at the 
bottom of all presumption, leads even the virtuous faithful 
generally to the common vice of presumption. I believe 
also (experience speaks loudly on this view, and it must be 
so) that gaps in the early sense-cultivation of virtue have the 
same consequences, as gaps in the early sense-cultivation of 
knowledge. 13 

But I see myself at the beginning of a far greater problem 
than that which I think I have solved. I see myself at the 
beginning of this problem : 

" How can the child, considering the nature of his dis 
position, and the changeableness of his circumstances and 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 181 

relations, be so trained that whatever is demanded of him in 
the course of his life by necessity and duty, may be easy to 
him, and may, if possible, become second nature to him? " 

I see myself at the beginning of the task of forming in the 
child, in its baby clothes, a satisfactory wife, the helpmeet of 
her husband, a good and vigorous mother, who fulfils her 
duties well. I see myself at the beginning of the task of 
making the child, in its baby clothes, the satisfactory husband 
of the woman, and a strong father, filling his place well. 

What a task, my friend ! To make the spirit of his future 
calling a second nature to the son of man. And what a still 
higher task to bring the sense-means of facilitating the 
virtuous and wise disposition of mind, into the blood and 
veins, before the hot desires for sensual pleasures have so 
infected blood and veins as to make virtue and wisdom im 

Friend ! This problem is also solved. The same laws of 
the physical mechanism that develop in me the sense- 
foundations of knowledge, are also the sense-means of 
facilitating my virtue. But, dear friend, it is impossible for 
me to go into the details of this solution now. I reserve it 
for another time. 


Friend ! As I said, it would have led me too far to enter 
into details of the principles and laws upon which the culti 
vation of the practical abilities (Pert.) in life depend. But 
I will not end my letters without touching on the keystone 
of my whole system, namely this question, How is reli 
gious feeling connected with these principles, which I have 
accepted as generally true for the development of the human 

Here also I seek the solution of my problem in myself, 

1 82 Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

and I ask : " How is the idea of God germinated in my soul ? 
How comes it that I believe in God, that I throw myself in 
His arms, and feel blessed when I love Him, trust Him, 
thank Him, follow Him ? 

I soon see that the feelings of love, trust, gratitude, and 
readiness to obey, must be developed in me before I can 
apply them to God. I must love men, trust men, thank 
men, and obey men before I can aspire to love, thank, trust, 
and obey God. For whoso loveth not his brother, whom he 
hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen ? 

Then I ask myself : How do I come to love, trust, thank, 
and obey men ? How come those feelings in my nature on 
which human love, human gratitude, human confidence rest, 
and those activities by which obedience is formed ? And I 
find : "That they have their chief source in the relations that 
exist betiveen the baby and his mother. 

The mother is forced by the power of animal instinct to 
tend her child, feed him, protect and please him. She does 
this. She satisfies his wants, she removes anything un 
pleasant, she comes to the help of his helplessness. x The 
child is cared for, is pleased. The germ of love is developed 
in him. 

Now put an object that he has never seen before his eyes ; 
he is astonished, frightened, he cries. The mother presses 
him to her bosom, dandles him, and diverts him. He leaves 
off crying, but his eyes are still wet. The object appears 
again. The mother takes him into her sheltering arms and 
smiles at him again. Now he weeps no more. He returns 
his mother's smile with clear unclouded eyes. The germ of 
trust is developed in him. 

The mother hastens to his cradle at his every need. She 
is there at the hour of hunger, she gives him drink in the 
hour of thirst. When he hears her step he is quiet, when 
he sees her he stretches out his hands. His eye is cast on 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 183 

her breast. He is satisfied. Mother, and being satisfied, 
are one and the same thought to him. He is grateful. 

The germs of love, trust and gratitude soon grow. The 
child knows his mother's step ; he smiles at her shadow. 
He loves those who are like her ; a creature like his mother 
is a good creature to him. He smiles at his mother's face, 
at all human faces ; he loves those who are dear to his 
mother. Whom his mother embraces, he embraces ; whom his 
mother kisses, he kisses too. The germ of human love, of 
brotherly love is developed in him. 

Obedience in its origin is an activity whose driving-wheel 
is opp'osed to the first inclinations of animal nature. Its 
cultivation rests on art. *It is not a simple result of pure 
' instinct, but it is closely connected with it. Its first stage 
is distinctly instinctive. As want precedes love, nourish 
ment gratitude, and care trust, so passionate desire precedes 
obedience. The child screams before he waits, he is im 
patient before he obeys. Patience is developed before 
obedience, he only becomes obedient through patience. The 
first manifestations (Pert.) of this virtue are simply passive ; 
they arise generally from a consciousness of hard necessity. 
But this, too,, is first developed on the mother's lap. The 
child must wait until she opens her breast to him ; he must 
wait until she takes him up. Active obedience develops 
much later, and later still, the consciousness that it is good 
for him to obey his mother. 

The development of the human race begins in a strong 
passionate desire for the satisfaction of physical wants. The 
mother's breast stills the first storm of physical needs, and 
creates love ; soon after fear is developed. The mother's arm 
stills fear. These actions produce the union of the feelings 
of love and trust, and develop the first germ of gratitude. 

Nature is inflexible towards the passionate child. He 
beats wood and stone, Nature is inflexible, and the child 

184 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

ceases to beat wood and stone. Now the mother is inflexible 
towards his irregular desires. He rages and roars she is 
still inflexible. He leaves off crying, he becomes accustomed 
to subject his will to hers. The first germs of patience, 
the first germs of obedience are developed. 

Obedience and love, gratitude and trust united, develop 
the first germ of conscience, the first faint shadow of the 
feeling that it is not right to rage against the loving mother ; 
the first faint shadow of the feeling that the mother is not 
in the world altogether for his sake ; the first faint shadow 
of a feeling that everything in the world is not altogether 
for his sake ; and with it is also germinated the feeling that 
he himself is not in the world for his own sake only. The 
first shadow of duty and right is in the germ. 

These are the first principles of moral self-development, 
which are unfolded by the natural relations between mother 
and child. But in them lies the whole essence of the natural 
germ of that state of mind, which is peculiar to human de 
pendence on the Author of our being. That is, the germ of 
all feelings of dependence on God, through faith, is in its 
essence, the same germ which is produced by the infant's 
dependence on its mother. The manner in which these feel 
ings develop is one and the same. 

In both, the infant hears, believes, follows, but in both, at 
this time, it knows not what it believes and what it does. 
Meanwhile, at this time, the first grounds of its faith and 
actions begin to vanish. Growing independence makes the 
child let go his mother's hand. He begins to become con 
scious of his own personality, and a secret thought unfolds 
itself in his heart, " / no longer need my mother" She 
reads the growing thought in his eyes; she presses her 
darling more firmly to her heart, and says, in a voice he 
has not yet heard, " Child, there is a God whom thou needest, 
who taketh thee in His arms when thou needest me no 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 185 

longer, when I can shelter thee no more. There is a God 
who prepares joy and happiness for thee when I can no more 
give them thee." Then an inexpressible something rises 
in the child's heart, a holy feeling, a desire for faith, that 
raises him above himself. He rejoices in the name of G-od, 
as soon as he hears his mother speak it. The feelings of 
love, gratitude and trust that were developed at her bosom, 
extend and embrace God as father, God as mother. The 
practice (Pert.} of obedience has a wider field. The child, 
who believes from this time forwards in the eye of God as 
in the eye of his mother, does right now for God's sake, as 
he formerly did right for his mother's sake. 

Here, in this first attempt of the mother's innocence and 
the mother's heart to unite the first feeling of independence 
with the newly developed feeling of morality through the 
inclination to faith in God, the foundations are disclosed on 
which education and instruction must cast their eyes, if they 
would aim, with certainty, at ennobling us. 

As the first germination of love, gratitude, trust, and 
obedience was a simple result of the coincidence of instinc 
tive feelings between mother and child, so the further de 
velopment of these germinated feelings is a high human art. 
But it is an art, the threads of which will be lost in your 
hands, if for one moment you lose sight of the origin from 
which the web springs. The danger of this loss to the 
child is great, and comes early. He lisps his mother's name, 
he loves, thanks, trusts and follows. He lisps the name of 
God, he loves, thanks, trusts and follows. But the motives 
of gratitude, love and trust vanish with the first appearance 
of the idea : He needs his mother no more. The world that 
now surrounds him appears to him in a new light, and en 
tices him with its pleasure, saying, " You are mine noiv." 

The child cannot but hear this voice. The instinct of the 
infant is quenched in him ; the instinct of growing poivers 

1 86 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

takes its place, and the germ of morality, in so far as it 
begins in feelings that are proper to the infant, suddenly 
withers up, and must wither, if at this moment, no one 
attaches to the golden spindle of creation the threads of 
his life, that is the first throbbing of the higher feelings of 
his moral nature. 

Mother, mother ! the world is now beginning to wean your 
child from your heart ; and if at this moment no one con 
nects his nobler nature with the new revelation of the world 
of sense, it is all over. Mother, mother, your child is torn from 
your heart. The new world becomes his mother, the netv 
world becomes his god, sensual pleasure becomes his god, 
self-will becomes his god. 

Mother, mother ! he has lost you, he has lost God, he has 
lost himself. The touch of love is quenched for him. The 
germ of self-respect is dead within him. He is going towards 
destruction, striving only after sensual enjoyment. 

Mankind, mankind ! Now with this transition when the 
feelings of infancy vanish in the first consciousness of the 
charm of the world, independent of the mother now when 
the ground, in which the noblest feelings of nature germinate, 
begins for the first time to tremble under the child's feet ; 
now when the mother begins to be no more what she once 
was to her child ; now when the germ of trust in the new 
aspect of the world is developed in him, and the charm of 
this new manifestation begins to stifle and devour his 
trust in his mother, who is no more what she once was to 
him, and with it his trust in an unseen and unknown God 
as the wild web of tangled roots of the poisonous plant stifle 
and devour the finer web of roots of the noblest plants, 
now, mankind ! Now at this moment of transition between 
the feelings of trust in mother and God, and those of trust 
in the new aspect of the world and all that therein is, 
now at this parting place, you should use all your art and 

Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her CJiildren. 187 

all your power to keep the feelings of love, gratitude, trust 
and obedience pure in your child. 

God is in these feelings, and the whole power of your 
moral life is intrinsically connected with their preservation. 

Mankind ! at this time when the physical causes of the 
germination of these feelings in the infant cease, your Art 
should do everything to bring to hand new methods of stimu 
lating them, and to let the attractions of the world only 
come before the mind of your growing child in connection 
with them. 

Now for the first time you cannot trust Nature, but must 
do everything to take the reins out of her blind hands and 
put them into the hands of principles and powers, in which 
the experience of ages has put them. The world that appears 
before the child's eyes is not God's first creation, it is a world 
spoilt alike for the innocent enjoyment of the senses, and for 
the feelings of his inner nature. It is a world full of war 
for the means of gratifying selfishness, full of contradiction, 
full of violence, presumption, lying and deceit. 

Not God's first creation but this world decoys the child to 
the giddy dance of the whirlpool of the abyss, whose depths 
are the home of lovelessness and moral death. Not God's 
creation, but the brute force and art of bringing about its own 
ruin, is what this world puts before the child's eyes. 

Poor child ! your dwelling-room is your world; but your 
father is bound to his workshop, your mother is vexed to-day, 
has company to-morrow, and has whims the next day. You 
are bored ; you ask questions ; your nurse will not answer. 
You want to go out ; you may not. Now you quarrel with 
your sister about a toy. Poor child! what a miserable, 
heartless, heart-corrupting thing your world is ! But is it 
anything more when you drive about in a gilded carriage 
under shady trees ? Your leader deceives your mother. You 
suffer less, but you become worse than all sufferers. What 

1 88 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

have you gained ? Your world is become a heavier load to 
you than any pain. 

This world is so rocked to sleep in the ruin of a perverse 
and oppressive opposition to the laws of Nature, that it 
has no mind for being the means of preserving purity in 
the heart of man ; on the contrary, it is as careless, at the 
critical moment, of the innocence of our race, as a heartless 
second wife of her step-child. A carelessness, that in a hun 
dred cases to one, causes and must cause the wreck of the last 
means that are left us for ennobling our race. At this time 
the child has no counterpoise that can be opposed to the 
phenomena of the world, and the one-sided charm of its im 
pressions on the senses, and so its conceptions, both through 
their one-sidedness and through their vividness, maintain a 
. decided preponderance over the impressions of experiences 
and feelings which lie at the base of the moral and spiri 
tual improvement of our race. Henceforth an infinite and 
infinitely living field is opened up for selfish and degraded 
passions. On the other hand, the way to that state of mind, 
on which the powers of his intelligence and enlightenment 
rest, is lost; that path to the narrow gate of morality is 
blocked up ; the whole sensuousness of his nature must take 
a direction separating the path of reason from that of love, 
and the improvement of the mind from the impulse towards 
faith in God, a way that more or less makes selfishness the 
one driving wheel of all his actions, and thereby determines 
the result of his culture to his own destruction. 

It is incomprehensible that mankind does not recognise 
this universal source of ruin. It is incomprehensible that 
it is not the one universal aim of their Art to stop it, and to 
subordinate the education of our race to principles which do 
not destroy the work of God, the feelings of love, gratitude 
and trust already developed in infancy, but which must at 
this dangerous time tend specially to care for those means 

Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 189 

of uniting our moral and spiritual improvement implanted 
in our nature by Grod Himself, and to bring education and in 
struction into harmony, on the one side, with those laws of 
the physical mechanism according to which our God raises 
us from vague sense-impressions to clear ideas, and on the 
other, with those feelings of my inner nature, through the 
gradual development of which my mind rises to recognise and 
venerate the moral law. It is incomprehensible that man 
kind does not begin to bring out a perfect gradation of 
methods for developing the mind and feelings, the essential 
purpose of which should be, to use the advantages of instruc 
tion and its mechanism for the preservation of moral per 
fection, to prevent the selfishness of the reason by preserving 
the purity of the heart from error and one-sidedness ; and 
above all, to subordinate my sense-impressions to my con 
victions, my eagerness to my benevolence, and my benevo 
lence to my righteous will. 

The causes which make this subordination necessary, lie 
deep in my nature. As my physical powers increase, their 
preponderance, by virtue of the laws of my development, 
must vanish, that is, they must be subordinated to a 
higher law. But every step of my development must be 
completed before it can be subordinated to a higher pur 
pose. This subordination of that which is already complete, 
to that which is to be completed, requires above all, pure 
holding fast to the beginning-points of all knowledge, and 
the most exact continuity in gradual progress from these 
beginning-points to the final completion. The primary law of 
this continuity is this : the first instruction of the child 
should never be the business of the head or of the reason it 
should always be the business of the senses, of the heart, of 
the mother. 

The second law, that follows it, is this : human education 
goes on slowly from exercise of the senses to exercise of the 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

judgment. It is for a long time the business of the heart, 
before it is the business of the reason. It is for a long time 
the business of the woman before it begins to be the busi 
ness of the man. 

What shall I say more ? With these words the eternal 
laws of nature lead me back to your hand, mother! Mother ! 
I can keep my innocence, my love, my obedience, the excel 
lences of my nobler nature with the new impressions of the 
world, all, all at your side only. Mother, mother ! while 
you have still a hand, a heart for me, let me not turn away 
from you. If no one has taught you to know the world as I 
am forced to learn it, then come, we will learn it together, as 
you ought, and I must. Mother, mother ! we will not part 
from each other at the moment when I run into danger of 
being drawn away from you, from Grod, and from myself, by 
the new phenomena of the world. Mother, mother ! sanctify 
the transition from your heart to this world, by the support 
of your heart. 

Friend ! I must be silent. My heart is moved, and I see 
tears in your eyes. Farewell ! 


Friend ! I go further now and ask myself : What have I 
done to work against the evils that affected me throughout 
my life, from a religious point of view ? Friend ! If by my 
efforts I have in any way succeeded in preparing the road 
to the goal at which I have been aiming, that is to take 
human education out of the hands of blind Nature, to free 
it from the destructive influence of her sensual side, and 
the power of the routine of her miserable teaching, and to 
put it into the hands of the noblest powers of our nature, 
the soul of which is faith and love ; if I can only in some 
Blight degree succeed in making the Art of education begin 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 191 

in the sanctuary of home, more than it now does, and to put 
new life into the religious instinct of our race, from this 
tender side ; if I should only have partly succeeded in bring 
ing nearer to my contemporaries the withered rootstock of 
mental and spiritual education, and an Art of education in har 
mony with the noblest powers of heart and mind ; if I have 
done this, my life will be blessed, and I shall see my greatest 
hopes fulfilled. 1 

I will dwell a moment longer on this point. The germ, 
out of which the feelings that are essential to religion and 
morality spring, is the same from which the whole spirit of my 
method of teaching arises. It begins entirely in the natural 
relation, which exists between the infant and its mother, and 
essentially rests on the Art of connecting instruction, from 
the cradle upwards, with this natural relation, and building 
it with continuous Art upon a state of mind that resembles 
our dependence on the Author of our being. When the phy 
sical dependence of child on mother begins to vanish, my 
method uses all possible means to prevent the germ of the 
nobler feelings, that arose from this dependence, from wither 
ing away ; and as the physical causes cease, it supplies new 
sources of vitality. At the important moment of the first 
separation of the feelings of trust in mother and God, and of 
reliance on the phenomena of the world, it applies all possible 
power and Art, so that the charm of the new phenomena of 
the world shall always appear to the child in connection 
with the nobler feelings of his nature. It uses all its power 
and Art to let these phenomena come before his eyes as God's 
first creation, not merely as a world full of lying and deceit. 
It limits the one-sided charm of the new phenomena by 
stimulating dependence upon mother and God. It limits the 
boundless free play of selfishness, to which the destructive 
phenomena of the world lead my animal nature, and does 
not allow the path of my reason to divide absolutely from 

192 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

the path of my heart, nor the improvement of my mind to 
separate me absolutely from my impulse of faith in 

The whole spirit of my method is not only to renew the 
bond between mother and child, with the disappearance of 
its physical cause, but to put a methodical series of means, 
that is an Art, into her hand by which she can give perma 
nence to this relation between her heart and her child, until 
the sense-methods of making virtue easy, united with the 
sense-methods of acquiring knowledge, may be able, by 
exercise, to ripen the independence of the child, in all that 
concerns right and duty. 

It has made it easy for every mother, whose heart is her 
child's, to keep him not only at the critical period from the 
danger of being drawn away from God and love, to save his 
soul from dreadful withering, and himself from being given 
up to unavoidable bewilderment, but also to lead him by the 
hand of her love and with pure, supporting, noble feelings 
into God's best creation, before his heart is spoilt for the 
impressions of innocence, truth and love by all the lying and 
deceit of this world. 

For the woman who makes my method her own, her child 
is jio longer confined] within the miserable and limited 
sphere of her own actual knowledge. The Mother's Book 
opens to her for her child the world which is God's world. 
The purest love opens her mouth for all that the child sees 
through her. She has taught him to lisp the name of God 
on her bosom, now she shows him the All-loving in the 
rising sun, in the rippling brook, in the branches of the 
trees, in the splendour of the flower, in the dewdrops. She 
shows him the All-present in himself, in the light of his 
eyes, in the flexibility of his joints, in the tones of his 
voice, in everything she shows him God ; and wher 
ever he sees God his heart rises, wherever he sees God 

How Gertrude Teaclies Her Children. 

in the world lie loves the world. Joy in God's world is 
interwoven with joy in God. He includes God, the world, 
and his mother in one and the same emotion. The torn 
bond is joined together again. He loves his mother more 
now than when he lay upon her breast. He stands now a 
step higher. He is now raised through the very same 
world, by which he would have been bewildered, if he had 
not learned to know it through his mother. The mouth that 
smiled on him so often from the day of his birth, the voice 
that from the day of his birth has so often foretold joy to 
him, this voice now teaches him to talk. The hand that 
pressed him so often to her heart now shows him pictures, 
whose names he has often heard. A new feeling germinates 
in his breast. He becomes conscious by words of what he 
sees. The first step of the gradation of the union of his 
spiritual and moral improvement is open. The mother's 
hand opens it, the child learns, knows, and names ; he wishes 
to know more, to name more. He forces the mother to 
learn with him ; she learns with him, and both mount daily 
to knowledge, power and love. Now she attempts with him 
the elements and grounds of art, straight and curved lines. 
The child soon outsteps her the joy of both is equal, new 
powers develop in his mind, he draws, measures, reckons. 
The mother showed him God in the aspect of the world, now 
she shows him God in his drawing, measuring, reckoning, in 
all his powers. He now sees God in his self-perfection. 
The law of perfection is the law of his training. He recog 
nises it in the first perfect drawing, in one straight or 
curved line yes, friend, with the first perfect drawing of 
a line, with the first perfect pronunciation of a word, the 
ftrst idea of the high law: "Be ye also perfect, as your Father 
in heaven is perfect " is developed in his breast. And since 
my method rests essentially on constant efforts towards the 
perfection of single things, it works powerfully and con- 


IQ4 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

stantly to impress the spirit of this law deeply in the child's 
breast from the cradle upwards. 

To this first law of your inner perfection, a second is 
united, intrinsically interwoven with the first. This is, 
Man is not in the world for his own sake only ; he can only 
perfect himself through the perfection of his brethren. My 
method seems exactly fitted to make these two laws, united, 
second nature to the children, almost before they know right 
from left. The child of my method can hardly talk before 
he is his brother's teacher, and his mother's helper. 

Friend ! It is not possible to join the bonds of the feelings 
on which true reverence for God rests, more tightly than it 
is done by the whole spirit of my method. By it I have pre 
served the mother for the child, and procured permanence for 
the influence of her heart. By it I have united God's wor 
ship with human nature, and secured their preservation by 
stimulating those emotions, from which the impulse of faith 
is germinated in our hearts. Mother and Creator, mother and 
Preserver, become through it, one and the same emotion for 
the child. By it the child remains longer his mother's 
child he remains by it longer God's child. The gradual 
development of his mind and heart united rests longer on 
the pure beginning-points from which their first germs 
sprang. The path of his love of man, and his wisdom is 
familiarly and sublimely opened. By it I am the father of 
the poor, the support of the wretched. As my mother leaves 
her healthy children and clings to the sickly, and takes 
double care of the wretched because she must, being the 
mother, because she stands in God's place to the child, so 
must /, if the mother is in God's place to me, and God fills 
my heart in the mother's place. A feeling like the mother's 
feeling impels me. Man is my brother, my love embraces 
the whole race, but I cling to the wretched, I am doubly his 
father ; to act like God becomes my nature. I am a child 

How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. ~ 195 

of God ; I believed in my mother, her heart showed me God. 
God is the God of my mother, of my heart and her heart. I 
know no other God. The God of my brain is a chimcera. 
I know no other God but the God of my heart. By faith in 
the God of my heart only I feel a man. The God of my 
brain is an idol. I ruin myself by worshipping him. The 
God of my heart is my God. I perfect myself in His love. 
Mother, mother! you showed me God in your commands, 
and I found Him in obedience. Mother, mother! when I 
forget God I forget you, and when I love God I am in your 
place to your infant. I cling to your wretched ones, and 
those who weep, rest in my arms as in their mother's. 

Mother, mother ! as I love you so I love God, and duty is 
my highest good. Mother ! when I forget you, I forget God, 
and the wretched ones no longer rest in my arms ; I am no 
longer in God's place to the sufferer. When I forget you I 
forget God. Then live I, like the lion, for myself and in 
self-confidence use my powers for myself against my own 
race. Then is there no sense of fatherhood in my soul, then 
no sense of God sanctifies my obedience ; and my apparent 
sense of duty is a vain deception. 

Mother, mother ! as I love- you, so love I God. Mother 
and obedience, God and duty are one and the same to me 
God's will, and the best and noblest, that I can imagine, are 
one and the same to me. I live then no more for myself; I 
lose myself in my brethren, the children of my God I live 
no more for myself, I live for Him who took me in my 
mother's arms, and raised me with a father's hand above the 
dust of my mortal coil to His love. And the more I love 
Him, the Eternal, the more I honour His commandments, the 
more I depend on Him, the more I lose myself and become 
His, the more does my nature become divine, the more do I 
feel in harmony with my inner nature and with my whole 
race. The more I love Him, the more I follow Him, the more 

196 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

do I hear on all sides the voice of the Eternal, " Fear not, I 
am thy God, I will never forsake thee ; follow My command 
ments ; My will is thy salvation." And the more I follow 
Him, the more I love Him and thank Him, the more I 
trust the Eternal, the more I know Him who is and was 
and shall be evermore, the Author of my being, needing me 

I have recognised the Eternal in myself. I have seen the 
way of the Lord, I have read the laws of the Almighty in 
the dust, I have sought out the laws of His love in my 
heart I know in whom I believe. My trust in God becomes 
infinite through my self-knowledge, and through the insight 
germinated in it, of the laws of the moral world. The idea 
of the Infinite is interwoven in my nature with the idea of 
the Eternal. ' I hope for eternal life. And the more I love 
Him, the Eternal, the more I hope for eternal life. The 
more I trust, the more I thank and follow Him. The more 
faith in His eternal goodness becomes a truth to me, the 
more does my faith in His eternal goodness become a witness 
of my immortality. 

I am silent again, Friend ! What are words to express a 
certainty that springs from the heart ? What are words on 
a subject in which a man, whose head and heart alike 
deserve my respect, thus expressed himself : " There is no 
perception of God from mere knowledge ; the true God lives 
only for faith, for childlike faith." 

" What is dim to the wisdom of the wise, 
Is clear and simple unto childlike eyes." 

Then only the heart knows God, the heart that rising 
above care for its own finite being embraces mankind, be it 
the whole or a part ? 

" This pure human heart requires and creates for its love, 
its obedience, its trust, its worship, a personified type of the 

Hoiv Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 197 

highest, a high, holy will, which exists as the soul of the 
whole spiritual world. 

"Ask the good man, Why is duty your highest good? 
Why do you believe in God ? If he gives proofs, only the 
schools are speaking in him. A more skilful intellect beats 
all these proofs down. He trembles a moment, but his heart 
cannot deny the Divine ; he comes back to Him, blessing and 
loving, as to his mother's bosom. 

" Then whence comes the good man's conviction of God ? 
Not from the intellect, but from that inexplicable impulse 
which cannot be comprehended in any word, or any thought, 
the impulse to glorify and immortalize his being in the 
higher imperishable being of the whole. Not me, but the 
brethren. Not the individual but the race. This is the 
unconditional expression of the divine voice within the soul. 
In comprehending and following it lies the only nobility of 
human nature." 2 



I AM trying to psychologize the instruction of mankind ; I am 
trying to bring it into harmony with the nature of my mind, 
with that of my circumstances and my relations to others. I 
start from no positive form of teaching, as such, but simply ask 
myself : 

" What would you do, if you wished to give a single child all 
the knowledge and practical skill he needs, so that by wise care 
of his best opportunities, he might reach inner content ? " 

I think, to gain this end, the human race needs exactly the 
same thing as the single child. 

I think, further, the poor man's child needs a greater refine 
ment in the methods of instruction than the rich man's child. 

* " The Method, a Report by Pestalozzi," published by Niederer, -with 
other posthumous works by Pestalozzi, in the Allgemeine Monatschrift fur 
Erziehung und Unterricht, edited by J. P. Rossel, Aix-la-Chapelle, 1828. 
Vol. ix., pp. 66-80, 161-174. This work is in the Library of the 
Teachers' Guild, London. These papers were also published separately 
under the title of " Pestalozzische Blatter," of which one volume aud part 
of another were published. A copy is in the Musee Pedagogue, Paris. 

Niederer says, in the Introduction : " The following original treatise, 
hitherto unprinted, contains Pestalozzi's report to a Society which had been 
formed to support his efforts for education at the time of his return from 
Stanz to Burgdorf. It is Pestalozzi's own work, and he has signed the copy, 
from which this is taken, with his own hand. 

"This precious document takes us back again to Pestalozzi's standpoint 
when he created the method. In this his views are fully expressed, and it 
contains the germ which developed later into^fche theory of elementary 
human education ; but it also contains the e%ors and mistakes which 
hindered the progress of his work." 

Seyffarth, who republishes it, Vol. 18, says : " It seems that Niederer 
made no alteration in this treatise, for he has added notes to the text, 
which he did not do when he made alterations." But there is reason 
for thinking that it has been touched by Niederer. See 

2CO Appendix. 

NATURE, indeed, does much for the human race, but we have 
strayed away from her path. The poor man is thrust away 
from her bosom, and the rich destroy themselves both by rioting 
and by lounging on her overflowing breast. 

The picture is severe. But ever since I have been able to see 
I have seen it so ; and it is from this view that the impulse 
arises within me, not merely to plaster over the evils in schools, 
which are enervating the people of Europe, but to cure them at 
their root. 

But this can never be done without subordinating all forms 
of instruction to those eternal laws, by which the human mind 
is raised from physical impressions on the senses to clear 

I have tried to simplify the elements of all human knowledge 
according to these laws, and to put them into a series of typical 
examples that shall result in spreading a wide knowledge of 
Nature, general clearness of the most important ideas in the 
mind, and vigorous exercises of the chief bodily powers, even 
among the lowest classes. 

I know what I am undertaking; but neither the difficulties 
in the way, nor my own limitations in skill and insight, shall 
hinder me from giving my mite for a purpose which Europe 
needs so much. And, gentlemen, in laying before you the 
results of those labours on which my life has been spent, I beg 
of you but one thing. It is this : Separate those of my asser 
tions that may be doubtful from those that are indisputable. I 
wish to found my conclusions entirely upon complete convic 
tions, or at least upon perfectly recognised premises. 

The most essential point from which I start is this : 

Sense impression of Nature is the only true foundation of 
human instruction, because it is the only true foundation of 
human knowledge. 

All that follows is the result of this sense impression, and 
the process of abstraction from it. Hence in every case where 
this is imperfect, the result also will be neither certain, safe 
nor positive ; and in any case, where the sense impression is 
inaccurate, deception and error follow. 

I start from this point and ask : " What does Nature herself 
do in order to present the world truly to me, so far as it affects 
me ? That is, By what means does she bring the sense im 
pressions of the most important things around me, to a per 
fection that contents me ? " And I find, She does this through 
my surroundings, my wants, and my relations to others. 

Through my surroundings she determines the kinds of sense 

Appendix. 201 

impressions I receive. Through my wants she stimulates my 
activities. Through my relations to others she widens my 
observation and raises it to insight and forethought. Through 
my surroundings, my wants, my relations to others, she lays 
the foundations of my knowledge, my work, and my right- 

And now I ask myself : " What general method of the Art * 
has the experience of ages put into the hands of humanity to 
strengthen this influence of Nature in developing intelligence, 
energy and virtue in our race?" And I find these methods 
are speech, the arts of drawing, writing, reckoning and 

And when I trace back all these elements of the human Art 
to their origin, I find it in the common basis of our mind, by \ 
means of which our understanding combines those impressions ) 
which the senses have received from Nature, and represents ' 
them as wholes, that is, as concepts. 

It is evident from this statement that in any case, where ' 
systematic training does not keep pace with the actual sense ) 
impressions of Nature, that the Art by its over-hasty work > 
upon the human mind, becomes a source of physical atrophy, 1 
that must inevitably result in one-sidedness, warped judgment, 
superficiality and error. Every word, every number, is a 
result of the understanding that is generated by ripened sense 

But the gradations by which physical impressions on the . 
senses become clear ideas reach the limits of the spontaneous \ 
working of the intellect, independent of the senses, along a \ 
course in harmony with the laws of the physical mechanism. 

Imitation precedes hieroglyphics ; hieroglyphics precede culti 
vated language, just as the individual name precedes the 

Further, it is only through this course, in harmony with the 
mechanism of the senses, that culture brings up before me the 
sea of confused phenomena (Ansch.} flowing one into another, 
first as definite sense impressions, and from these forms clear 

Thus all the Art (of teaching) men is essentially a result of 
physico-mechanical laws, the most important of which are the 
following : 

1. Bring all things essentially related to each other to that . 
connection in your mind which they really have in Nature. 

* The Art of Teaching : our Science and Art of Education. 

202 Appendix. 

/ 2. Subordinate all unessential things to essential, and especi 
ally subordinate the impression given by the Art to that given 
by Nature and reality. 

3. Give to nothing a greater weight in your idea than it has 
in relation to your race in Nature. 

4. Arrange all objects in the world according to their like- 

5. Strengthen the impressions of important objects by allowing 
'them to affect you through different senses. 

6. In every subject try to arrange graduated steps of know 
ledge, in which every new idea shall be only a small, almost 
imperceptible addition to that earlier knowledge which has 
been deeply impressed and made unforgetable. 

/ 7. Learn to make the simple perfect before going on to the 

8. Eecognise that as every physical ripening must be the 
result of the whole perfect fruit in all its parts, so every just 
judgment must be the result of a sense impression, perfect in 
all its parts, of the object to be judged. Distrust the appear 
ance of precocious ripeness as the apparent ripeness of a worm- 
eaten apple. \ 

9. All physical effects are absolutely necessary ; and this 
necessity is the result of the art of Nature, with which she 
unites the apparently heterogeneous elements of her material 
into one whole for the achievement of her end. The Art, which 
imitates her, must try in the same way to raise the results at 
which it aims to a physical necessity, while it unites its ele 
ments into one whole for the achievement of its end. 

10. The richness of its charm and the variety of its free play 
cause the results of physical necessity to bear the impress of 
freedom and independence. Here, too, the Art must imitate the 
course of Nature, and by the richness of its charm and the 
variety of its free play, try to make its results bear the impress 
of freedom and independence. 

11. Above all, learn the first law of the physical mechanism, 
the powerful, universal connection between its results and the 
proportion of nearness or distance between the object and our 
senses. Never forget this physical nearness or distance of all 
objects around you has an immense effect in determining your 
positive sense impressions, practical ability and even virtue. 
But even this law of your nature converges as a whole towards 
another. It converges towards the centre of our whole being, 
and we ourselves are this centre. Man ! never forget it ! All 
that you are, all you wish, all you might be, comes out of 

Appendix, 203 

yourself. All must have a centre in your phj 7 sical sense im 
pression, and this again is yourself. In all it does, the Art , 
really only adds this to the simple course of Nature. That 
which Nature puts before us, scattered and over a wide area, , 
the Art puts together in narrower bounds and brings nearer to 
our five senses, by associations, which facilitate the power of 
memory, and strengthen the susceptibility of our senses, and 
make it easier for them, by daily practice, to present to us the 
objects around us in greater numbers, for a longer time and in 
a more precise way. 

The mechanism of Nature as a whole is great and simple.' 
Man ! imitate it. Imitate this action of great Nature, who out 
of the seed of the largest tree produces a scarcely perceptible 
shoot, then, just as imperceptibly, daily and hourly by gradual 
stages, unfolds first the beginnings of the stem, then the bough, 
then the branch, then the extreme twig on which hangs the 
perishable leaf. 

Consider carefully this action of great Nature, how she tends 
and perfects every single part as it is formed, and joins onj 
every new part to the permanent life of the old. 

Consider carefully how the bright blossom is unfolded from 
the deeply hidden bud. Consider how the bloom of its first 
day's splendour is soon lost, while the fruit, at first weak but 
perfectly formed, adds something important every day to all 
that it is already. So, quietly growing for long months, it hangs 
on the twig that nourishes it ; until, fully ripe and perfect in 
all its parts, it falls from the tree. 

Consider how Mother Nature, with the uprising shoot, also 
develops the germ of the root, and buries the noblest part of the 
tree deep in the bosom of the earth ; then how she forms the 
immovable stem from the very heart of the root, and the boughs 
from the very heart of the stem, and the branches from the 
very heart of the boughs. How to all, even the weakest, outer 
most twig she gives enough, but to none useless, disproportion 
ate strength. 

The mechanism of physical human nature is essentially sub-, 
ject to the same laws by which physical Nature generally, 
unfolds her powers. According to these laws all instruction, 
should graft the most essential parts of its subject firmly into 
the very being of the human mind ; then join on the less essen 
tial gradually, but uninterruptedly, to the most essential, and 
maintain all the parts of the subject, even to the outermost, 
in one living proportionate whole. 

I now go further, and ask : How has Europe applied these 

204 - Appendix. 

laws of the physical mechanism to all matters of popular edu- 
jcation? What has Europe done to bring the elementary means 
of human knowledge, that the work of ages has put into our 
hands, into harmony with the real nature of the human mind, 
and the laws of the physical mechanism? What use has this 
generation made of these laws in the organization of its teach 
ing institutions, in its speaking, drawing, writing, reading, 
reckoning and measuring ? 

I see none. In the existing organization of these institutions, 
at least so far as they affect the poorer classes, I see no trace of 
any regard for the general harmony of the whole and for the 
psychological gradations required by these laws. 

No, it is notorious ! In the existing methods of popular in 
struction these laws are not only ignored, but generally rudely 

And when I ask again : What are the unmistakable con 
sequences of thus rudely despising these laws ? I cannot 
conceal from myself the physical atrophy, one-sidedness, warped 
judgment, superficiality, and presumptuous vanity that char 
acterize the masses in this generation, are the necessary 
consequence of despising these laws, and of the isolated, unpsy- 
chological, baseless, unorganized, unconnected teaching, which 
' our poor race has received in our lower schools. 
i Then the problem I have to solve is this : How to bring the 
elements of every art into harmony with the very nature of my 
jmind, by following the psychological mechanical laws by which 
my mind rises from physical sense impressions to clear ideas. 

Nature has two principal and general means of directing 

human activity towards the cultivation of the arts, and these 

| should be employed, if not before, at least side by side with any 

I particular means. They are singing and the sense of the beau- 

1 tiful. 

With song the mother lulls her babe to sleep ; but here, as in 
everything else, we do not follow the law of Nature. Before 
the child is a year old, his mother's song ceases ; by that time 
she is, as a rule, no longer a mother to the weaned child. For 
him, as for all others, she is only a distracted, over-burdened 
woman. Alas ! that it is so. Why has not the Art of ages 
taught us to join the nursery lullabies to a series of national 
songs, that should rise in the cottages of the people, from the 
gentle cradle song to the sublime hymn of praise? But I can- 
toot fill this gap. I can only point it out. 

It is the same with the sense of the beautiful. All Nature is 
full of grand and lovely sights, but Europe has done nothing to 

Appendix. 205 

awaken in the poor a sense for these beauties, or to arrange them 
in such a way as to produce a series of impressions, capable of 
developing this sense. The sun rises for us in vain ; in vain" 
for us he sets. In vain for us do wood and meadow, mountain 
and valley spread forth their innumerable charms. They are 
nothing to us. 

Here, again, I can do nothing ; but if ever popular education 
should cease to be the barbarous absurdity it now is, and put it 
self into harmony with the real needs of our nature, this want 
will be supplied. 

I leave these means of directing the Art generally, and turni 
to the forms by which special means of education, speaking,,' 
reading, drawing and writing should be taught. 

Before the child can utter a sound, a many-sided consciousness 
of all physical truths exists already within him, as a starting- 
point for the whole round of his experiences. Tor instance, he 
feels that the pebble and the tree have different properties, 
that wood differs from glass. To make this dim consciousness 
clear, speech is necessary. We must give him names for the 
various things he knows, as well as for their properties. \ 

So we connect his speech with his knowledge, and extend his; 
knowledge with his speech. This makes the consciousness of! 
impressions which have touched his senses clearer to the child. 
And the common work of all instruction is to make this con 
sciousness clear. This may be done in two ways. 

Either we lead the children through knowledge' of names to 
that of things, or else through knowledge of things to that of t 
names. The second method is mine. I wish always to let sense) 
impression precede the word, and definite knowledge the judg 
ment. I wish to make words and talk unimportant on the 
human mind, and to secure that preponderance due to the 
actual impressions of physical objects (Ansch.), that forms such 
a remarkable protection against mere noise and empty sound. 
From his very first development I wish to lead my child into 
the whole circle of Nature surrounding him; I would organize 
his learning to talk by a collection of natural products ; I would 
teach him early to abstract all physical generalizations from 
separate physical facts, and teach him to express them in words ; 
and I would everywhere substitute physical generalizations for 
those metaphysical generalizations with which we begin the 
instruction of our race. Not till after the foundation of human, 
knowledge, (sense impressions of Nature,) has been fairly laid and! 
secure would I begin the dull, abstract work of studying froml 



But even my ABC book is only a collection of easy stories by 
which every mother is enabled with the sound of the letter to 
make her child acquainted with the most important facts of his 
physical nature. 

Supplement No. 1 contains the letter T of this ABC book. 

Before the child knows the forms of the letters by sight, be 
fore his organs begin to make articulate sounds, I let the root- 
forms of all German syllables be repeated so often and so care 
fully before his developing organs, that he learns to imitate 
them easily and distinctly. When this is done, I let him see 
first single letters, then two or three together, letting him hear 
the sound as he looks at them, and when he has fixed the 
order in which they are placed in his memory, he pronounces 2, 
3, or 4 together like one. 

The examples of the series by which this is done are in Sup 
plement No. 2. I also depend here on the physical effects of com 
pleteness, and have given this stage of sense-impression a fulness 
that it has never had before. 

Words of one or more syllables are placed letter by letter 
on the board. For instance, take the word Soldatenstand. We 
first put : 




S and ask, How do you say that? Answer, S 









Frequent repetition of building up the same word is absolutely 
necessary to make the formation and pronunciation perfectly 
fluent to the child. 

When the children can form and pronounce the word with 
ease, it should be shown them in syllables, and imitated by 
them until they feel, themselves, which letters on the board 
belong to each syllable. I number the syllables, and ask : What 
is the first, the second, and so on ? and out of the order of their 
sequence the sixth, the first, the fourth, and so on? Then, for 
the first time, I let them spell it. Changing the letters of a word 
to be spelt ; taking one or more of them away, adding others, 
and dividing it up into false syllables strengthens the observa- 

Appendix. 207 

tion of the children, and their increased power enables them to 
re-arrange the very hardest words by themselves. 

By this method the formation of words becomes evident to 
children ; their organs of speech are exercised to pronounce the 
hardest words easily ; in a short time they reach an incredible 
facility in this business, usually so tiresome ; and from one 
word often learn a number of independent words, as in the above 

Lastly, we use the separate letters as a basis for beginning 
arithmetic, according to a systematic series of number-relation 
ships, which is shown in Supplement No. 3. 

Regardless of confusion and error, Nature lays her whole 
wealth before the eyes of the inexperienced child, and the child 
in her great warehouse hears the whole wealth of language be 
fore he has an idea of a single word. But sound and tone are 
deeply impressed upon him, and the connection in which he 
daily hears the words soon gives him a vague sense of what 
they mean. 

Here, too, I imitate the course of Nature. My first reading 
book for the child is the dictionary ; the sum of our ancestors' 
testimony about all that exists. Language, as one great whole, 
is in this first reading book, that rises through a series of repeti 
tions, of imperceptible grammatical additions, to be an ency 
clopedic register of facts. No. 4 contains a specimen of this 
reading book in its original simplicity. No. 5 contains a speci 
men of simple grammatical additions. 

No. 6 contains the classification of words according to the 
similarity of their meaning. 

No. 7 contains exercises in language-teaching, in the use of 
verbs and substantives together. 

Writing is only a kind of linear drawing applied to certain < 
arbitrary forms, and must be subject to the general laws of ! 
linear drawing. Nature confirms this principle. The child is 
able to make the elements 6f linear drawing his own, two years 
before he is in a position to guide that delicate instrument, the 
pen, well. Therefore I teach the children to draw before think 
ing of writing, and by this means they form the letters more 
perfectly than they would otherwise do at this age. 

The success depends entirely on the very simple principle, 
that whoever can divide an angle accurately and draw an arc 
round it, has already the foundations for the accurate drawing 
of all letters in his hand. The following figure contains the 
characteristic lines of the art of writing.* 

* Seyffarth omits the last sentence and diagram, he may have good rea- 






The principle from which I start is this : 

Angles, parallels and arcs comprise the whole art of drawing. 
Everything that can possibly be drawn is only a definite appli 
cation of these three primary forms. We can imagine a per 
fectly simple series arising out of these primary forms, within 
which an absolute standard is to be found for all drawing ; and 
the sesthetic beauty of all forms can be evolved from the nature 
of these primary forms. 

No. 9 contains a few drawings, mathematical and aesthetic. 

No. 10 contains mathematical definitions of the primary forms 
of all the letters. 

No. 11 gradated exercises in writing with the slate pencil. 
The beginnings of geometry are closely connected with these. 

No. 12 contains examples of the way in which I try to 
sharpen the child's eyes. 

No. 13 contains attempts to make clear to them the principles 
of this subject. 

Numbers are abstractions from magnitudes, therefore it is 
necessary that the elements of geometry should precede the first 
principles of arithmetic, or, at least, should be taught at the same 

Here, too, I begin with sense impressions, and make the 
divisions of numbers by showing first, few or more real things ; 
then groups of dots so that the child does not take arbitrary 

sons. It is supposed to be Buss's A B C of Anschauung Form. See Letter 
III. Note I. If it really occurs here in the original text, Pestalozzi must 
have made it. When this Report was written he had not met Buss. I 
cannot yet satisfactorily trace its origin. Biber calls it the alphabet of 
form, and uses it to illustrate Buss's account, he says " it was never pub 
lished, and soon superseded," p. 205. He evidently did not know Niederer 
had published it three years before. Although he had his information 
through Krusi and Niederer, we follow Eossel. Seyffarth apparently thinks 
that Niederer has added it, and therefore leaves it out. 

Appendix. 209 

forms as numbers, but can revise and test by the actual dots 
the actual relations of numbers. 

In No. 14 are a few examples of this method of calculating. 

In this way, gentlemen, I try to follow in elementary instruc 
tion the mechanical laws by which man rises from sense impres 
sion to clear ideas. 

All Nature is bound to this course of action. She is bound tov. 
rise step by step from the simple beginning. 

I follow in her path. If the child knows simple bodies air, 
earth, water, fire -I show him the effects of these elements on 
bodies that he knows, and as he learns the properties of several 
simple bodies, I show him the different effects obtained by unit 
ing one body to another, and lead him always by the simplest 
course of sense impression to the boundaries of the higher 
sciences. Everything must be put into forms that make it > 
possible and easy for any sensible mother to follow this instruc- ) 
tion. But I would also wish that my children, taught in this 
way, should not let themselves be led astray by the presump 
tuous ignorance of schoolmasters. 

I maintain that my method will lead them as early as their 
seventh year to seek the man, who is master of any branch of 
knowledge, and to be able to judge about it independently and 

But we neither know what education is, nor what the child is. 

The details of human sense impression from which his know 
ledge arisesf are in themselves imperceptible, and left to Nature, 
un arranged, they are chaotically confused. But the important 
part of this boundless chaos is small in each department, and 
when accurately arranged, can easily be surveyed. On the other 
hand, the child's power of apprehension when used psychologic 
ally is infinite ; but we must in all subjects use the work of our 
forefathers, which has not only brought the details of our sense 
impressions nearer to our consciousness through language, but 
has arranged their infinite details, and has brought them for t 
definite purposes into orderly sequence. 

It is obvious that we must not neglect the preliminary work of 
former ages as if we were apes and never meant to be men. 
Here my course rises to the final destmj' of the child ; but I look 
on it only within the limits of physical mechanism, the scope of 
which I would inquire into and try to follow, and I find myself 
once more at Nature's law, that my sense impressions, my efforts, 
and my ends are closely connected with the physical nearness 
or distance of the objects that determine my will. 

It is true that a child, who runs about for an hour, looking 

210 Appendix. 

for a tree that grows before his door, will never know a tree. 
The child, who in his dwelling room finds no stimulant to effort, 
will scarcely find any in the wide world ; and he who finds no 
stimulus to human love in his mother's eyes may travel the 
world through and find no motive for benevolence in human 

The natural man becomes an angel when he avails himself of 
the incentives to wisdom and virtue that naturally and closely 
surround him. He becomes a devil when he neglects them, and 
ranges over all mountains to seek them at a distance. It must 
be so. When the objects of the world are removed from my 
senses they are, so far, sources of deception and error, and even 
of crime. But I say again, this law of the physical mechanism 
revolves about a higher one, it revolves about the centre of your 
whole being, that is yourself. Self-knowledge, then, is the 
centre from which all human instruction must start. 

But this has a double nature. 

No. 15 shows, (1) how much I try to use the knowledge of my 
physical nature as the foundation of human instruction. 

(2) How much I try to use the knowledge of my inner 
individuality ; the consciousness of my will to further my own 
welfare ; and of my duty to be true to my inner light. But in 
the sphere of the child's physical experience, there are not 
enough motives for standpoints. Therefore, Nature has in 
spired him with trust in his mother, and upon this trust 
founded willing obedience, within the limits of which the child 
has acquired those habits, the possession of which will make 
the duties of life easier. 

Nourished on his mother's breast, reading love in her every 
glance, dependent for each want of his life upon her, obedience 
in its first origin is a physical necessity for him, its performance 
an easy duty, and its result the source of his pleasure. 

Even so is man. He finds in the whirl of existence and in 
his material experiences no sufficient motives for subjecting 
himself to that alone which the duties of his life require of him. 

To fill this gap Nature has implanted in his bosom trust in 
God, and upon this trust founded willing obedience, within the 
limits of which he daily acquires those habits, the possession of 
which alone makes a lasting effort towards inner nobility 
possible. He, too, is nourished at the bosom of Nature, and finds 
all his joys resting on her lap ; but just as much is he dependent 
on stern necessity. Therefore for him obedience to truth and 
justice, obedience to the Author of his being, who has no need of 
him, is also in its origin a physical necessity of his condition, 

Appendix. 2 1 1 

its fulfilment an easy duty, and its result the source of all his 


I, then, lay the keystone of my instruction upon the early I 
development of the natural motive to fear G-od ; for though I ' 
am thoroughly convinced that religion is badly used as an 
exercise for the understanding and as a subject of instruction 
for children, yet I am equally convinced that as the affair of the j 
heart it is a necessity for my nature even at the tenderest age ; ' 
that as such it cannot too early be awakened, purified or elevated. I 
From Moses to Christ all the prophets have tried to connect 
this sentiment with the innocence of the childlike mind, and to 
develop and nourish it through sense impression of all Nature. 

I follow their path. My whole instruction is nothing but a , 
series of illustrations of the wisdom and greatness of my nature | 
in so far as it has not been degraded by me. 

Through an eye, opened by infinite preparation of the Art, I 
show the child the world, and he no longer dreams of God, he 
sees Him ; he lives in contemplation (Ansch.} of Him. He prays 
to Him. 

Supplement No. 16 contains an example of my series of verbs, 
from the simple combination of which every process and action 
of Nature that specially concerns man is made clear, what he 
does in common with inanimate Nature and what he does in 
common with the brute. 

I do not think it possible to find illustrations by which the 
natural man can be more surely raised to worship God and to 
reverence himself and his own worth. It is my inmost wish too, 
to found my instruction on this foundation of human tranquility. 
For I am convinced that a child brought up without trust in 
God is a motherless waif ; and a child out of tune with this j 
trust is an unhappy daughter who has lost her mother's heart. 

But it is time I ended. Gentlemen, this is the first sketch of . 
my principles and method of instruction, and I offer it to your | 
free criticism. 


BURGDORF, June 21th, 1800. 

212 Hoiv Gertrude TeacJies Her Children. 


(G) Refers to Roger de Guimps' Life of Pestalozzi, Translated by J. Russell, B.A. 
(London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1890). 

1 l The preface was added to the second edition, Collected Works, 
Vol. 5, Cotta, Stuttgart and Tubingen, 1 820. The first edition (1801) 
has no preface. This gives us Pesfalozzi's views twenty years after 
the first publication of the book ; it should therefore be read, as pre 
faces often are, after the work itself. 

2 Ith, Johannsen, and Niederer. 

Ith, J. von, wrote Official Report of the Pestalozzian Institute and the 
New Method of Teaching. Bern and Zurich, 1802. This was one of 
the first works published on the new method of Burgdorf. 

Johannsen published a Criticism of the Pestalozzian Method. Jena 
and Leipzig, 1804. 

Neiderer, editor of Pestalozzi's collected works, was one of Pesta- 
lozzi's principal fellow-workers at Yverdun, and had great influence 
over him. His first work, The Pestalozzian Institute and the Public, 
with a preface by Pestalozzi, was published at Yverdun in 1811, 
PestalozzVs Educational Undertaking in its Relation to the Culture of 
the Age, 2 vols., Stuttgart and Tubingen, 1812-13. 

3 Gruner, Von Turk, and Chavannes. 

Gruner published Letters from Burgdorf about Pestalozzi, his Method 
and his Institute. 1804, Ed. 2, 1806, Frankfort. 

Von Turk was of a noble family in North Germany. He gave 
up a good position in the magistracy of Oldenburg, and went to 
Yverdun to study Pestalozzi's work and methods. He was the 
author of Contributions to Information about G-erman Elementary 
Schools and Letters from Munchen-Buchsee on Pestalozzi and his Edu 
cational Method, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1806. .He was appointed Counsellor 
of State at Potsdam, and worked zealously for thirty years in propa 
gating and applying Pestalozzi's method. (G., p. 252.) 

Chavannes, D. A. An Account of the Elementary Method of H. 
Pestalozzi, with an account of the works of this celebrated man, his Insti 
tute, principles, and fellow-workers. Paris, 1805. Ed. 2, 1809. 

4 The letters are not numbered by Pestalozzi, but they are distinctly 
divided. See Mr. Quick's copy of Ed. 1, 1801. Teachers' Guild Library, 
London. There are fourteen letters, but Seyffarth divides Letter 
seven and so makes fifteen. This has caused some little confusion; 


Notes to Letter /. 213 

but there is really no difference in the text. They are addressed to 
Heinrich Gessner, publisher, Zurich, son of Solomon Gessner, the 
poet. He was a member of the " Patriotic Party," a society of young 
men founded 1762, whose object was to improve the condition of the 

5 Lavater, Johann Kasper, Zurich, 1741-1802. Died Jan. 2, from 
effects of a bullet-wound received on Sept. 22, 1799, when the French 
entered Zurich, while he was helping wounded soldiers in the 
street. Preacher, philosopher, poet, and prose writer. Best known 
to us by his \vork on physiognomy. Member of Patriotic Party ; 
warm friend of Pestalozzi. His Views on Eternity, in Letters to J. 
G. Zimmermann, were published, Zurich, 1768, 4 vols. 

Zimmermann, Johann Georg. Brugg, Canton Aargati, 1728-95. 
Physician and philosophical writer. His Observations on Solitude is 
well known. 

6 Iselin Isaak, author and publisher, Basle, 1728-82, published a 
journal entitled EpJiemerides of Humanity. In 1776, Pestalozzi pub 
lished in it A Prayer to the Friends and Well-wishers of Mankind for 
Kind Support of an Establishment for giving Poor Children Education 
and Work in the Country. Iselin warmly supported the appeal. 
Pestalozzi's Everting Hour of a Hermit also appaared first in this 
journal, May, 1780. Iselin especially directed the attention of the 
readers of the Ephemerides to Pestalozzi's efforts, and tried to sup 
port him in every way. Pestalozzi always remembered him grate 
fully. " In the good hot working days, when apparently I was wasting 
my strength, he was the only one upon whom I could lean, covered 
as 1 was with dust and sweat, and find refreshment in my pains. 
Oh, my friend ! perhaps without you I should have sunk in the depths 
and been lost in the mire of my life." (Seek; and G., p. 75, note.) 

7 Ed. 1, p. 3, 4, instead of " But I was young," etc., has the follow 
ing beginning with the oft-quoted passage, not in Ed. 2. " Long years 
I lived surrounded by more than fifty beggar children. In poverty 
I shared my bread with them. I lived like a beggar in order to 
learn how to make beggars live like men. 

u My ideal of their training included work on the farm, in the 
factory and the workshop. In all three branches I was full of high and 
sure instinct for what is great and important in this plan, and even 
now I know of no error in the principles. Yet, on the other hand, 
it is quite true that in all three branches I wanted skill to deal with 
details, and a mind that could devote itself to trifles. I was not 
rich enough, and I was too forsaken, to remedy what was wanting in 
me by sufficient collaboration. My plan was wrecked, but I had 
learned in the struggle immeasurable truth, and my conviction of 
the truth of my plan was never stronger than at the time when it 
was ruined. My heart still moved on unshaken towards the same 
end. In my own misery I learned to know the misery of the people 
and its sources, more arid more ; I knew them as no happier man can 

214 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

know them. I suffered," etc. (See G., chap. v. pp. 52-72, for account 
of the experiment at Neuhof, which began in the winter of 1774.) 

8 "Leonard and Gertrude." The first volume of this work ap 
peared 1781, and was a great success. In the form of a story Pesta 
lozzi shows how the people in Bonal were reformed by education. 
Gertrude, the mother of seven children, wife of Leonard, a mason, 
is the educator. But these things are an allegory : Bonal is the world, 
and Gertrude the typical mother-educator. Pestalozzi likes to con 
nect his work, and Gertrude here is only a name for the ideal mother 
who educates, as in his previous work. We forget sometimes, perhaps 
Pestalozzi himself forgets, that this work is "a guide to mothers 
in educating their children." Few mothers can undertake the entire 
education of their children; but the mother is the child's first teacher 
and guide ; her natural methods of teaching, prompted by sympathy 
and love, are adapted to the little child, and her influence is generally 
stronger than any other. " The mother, untrained, follows nature in 
pure simplicity without knowing what nature does through her, 
and nature does very much through her. She opens the world to the 
child, she makes him ready to use his senses, and prepares for de 
velopment of attention and observation" (Lett. X.). Two women, both 
servants, are said to have been models for Gertrude. Babeli, servant 
to Pestalozzi's mother (G. 2-4), and Elizabeth Naef, who found 
Neuhof in disorder and worked hard to provide for Pestalozzi and 
his family. Of her Pestalozzi said, " She is an image of Gertrude" 
(G., pp. 69-70, 79-88). 

9 Inquiries into the, Course of Nature in the Development of the Human 
Race. This study of the evolution of man was written at Neuhof at 
Fichte's suggestion. Published, 1797. Niederer, writing to him early 
in 1801, says, " I look upon it as containing a most valuable discovery ; 
I may call it indeed the germ of your whole method " (G., pp. 110-112). 

10 " Gallimaufry," nonsense, hodge-podge. Winter's Tale, Act iv 
sc. 3. 

11 " Stanz burnt. Legrand." Stanz, market town, Canton Unter- 
walden, destroyed by French, Sept. 9, 1798. Legrand, Jean Lue, 
1755-1838. Belonged, with Iselin and other reformers, to the "Patriotic 
Party." Became a member of the Grand Council of Bern, in 1783, and 
President of the Swiss Directorate, 1798, but held office for only part 
of a year. Became acquainted with Oberlin, the famous pastor of 
Ban- de-la-Roche, in 1812. Settled near him in 1814, and devoted the 
remaining years of his life wholly to popular education. 

12 "Pronouncing sounds," etc. Herbart, as early as May, 1801, 
promised his friend Halem, who was planning a literary journal 
under the name of Irene, an article on Pestalozzi. The letter accom 
panying the article is dated Dec. 24, 1801, and the article appeared 
early in 1802. 

Herbart met Pestalozzi for the first time at Zurich. " In Zurich 

Notes to Letter I. 215 

I met neither Lavater nor Hegel, but chance brought me in contact 
with the celebrated Pestalozzi." (Letter, Jan. 28, 1798.) 

The second time he visited him was at Burgdorf ; but Pestalozzi 
says that here " he crowed his ABC daily from morn till night, and 
went on in the sam^ empirical way " that he had followed at Stanz. 
Herbart says : " I saw him in his schoolroom. A dozen children, from 
five to eight years old, were called into school at an unusual hour in 
the evening. I feared they would be sulky, and that the experiment 
which I had come to see would be a failure. But the children came 
with no signs of reluctance ; a lively activity lasted continuously to 
the end. The noise of the whole school speaking together no, not the 
noise it was a pleasant harmony of words, quite intelligible, in 
measured time, like a chorus, as powerful, and as firmly united, 
and so clearly arising from what had been learned, that I had some 
difficulty not to change from a spectator and observer into a learner 
and child. I went round among them to hear if any were silent or 
speaking carelessly ; I found none. The children's pronunciation did 
my ears good, although their teacher has the most incomprehensible 
organ in the world, and their tongues cannot be well trained by 
their Swiss parents." (Herbart, Pad. Schriften, vol. i. p. 88, 1880.) 

13 In June, 1799, the French were driven out of Uri into Unter- 
walden by the Austrians, and the orphanage was converted into a 
French hospital. On June 8th, 1799, sixty children were sent away, 
leaving only twenty. Pestalozzi intended to return, but the Govern 
ment was unfavourable, and the orphanage after some time was 
closed. (G., 142-146.) 

14 The first "Letter from Stanz" was written at Gurnigel, between 
June 8 and the end of July, 1799, and was printed in 1807. It will 
be found entire in de Guimp's Life, pp. 147-171. It should be com 
pared with this account. At that time, he says here, " 1 was not 
certain of the foundations of my procedure." His " Account of the 
Method " to the Society of Friends of Education, June 27, 1800, is 
the first attempt to state his principles. (See "The Method," last 

15 [ ] These brackets include additions made in Ed. 2. All 
have not been indicated in this way. Some are very slight, and 
others are difficult to separate in a translation. They may be found 
in most German editions. Rarely words or passages in Ed. 1. have 
been left out of Ed. 2. The most important omission is given in 
note 7. The most important additions made are to this passage, 
and give us Pestalozzi's views twenty years later, they may be con 
sidered as his last words in the book. 

When the notes are from Ed. 1, the reference figures are placed 
where the cue can be most easily found. 

16 " Anschauung " we have usually translated " sense-impression.' 1 
When another equivalent is used we have indicated it by (Ansch.) 

216 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

" Sense-impression " is frequently used by Mr. Sully. " Sense-impres 
sions are the alphabet by which we spell out the objects presented to 
us." (Teachers Handbook of Psychology, ch. viii., 1886). It was one of 
the most suitable words, but we are indebted to Mr. J. Russell for 
fixing it. The first draft of the translation of this work was made 
before his translation of B,. de Gruimp's Life ofPestalozzi was published, 
but he suggested this term, and said he had used it. " Intuition " was 
impossible ; instead of conveying it hides Pestalozzi's meaning, and it 
has caused much mischief. Mr. F. C. Turner shows in the following 
note that "intuition" has not the same meaning for us that " Ans- 
chauung " had for Pestalozzi. 

" The language of Pestalozzi presents considerable difficulties to the 
translator. He tells us (Letter VI.) that he " is incapable of philo 
sophic thought." His words do not always express his full meaning, 
but that is partly because his thought is still growing and imperfect. 
A year earlier he did not really know the foundation of his method, 
and his expressions, like his thought, are in some ways still immature, 
changing and confused. His sentences are often over- burdened with 
qualifications and saving clauses, characteristic of him. Sometimes 
he uses words with local meanings differing from their usual signi 

The greatest difficulty, however, is in dealing with that word 
which is the keystone of his whole theory, Anschauung. Its mean 
ing has grown under his hands, and it connotes for him much more 
than it ever did before. It has, and can have, no satisfactory English 
equivalent. The early writers and translators used the word " in 
tuition," and quite recently Mr. Quick, in the new edition of his 
Educational Reformers, has sanctioned its use. It has the advantage 
of being etymologically an equivalent of Anschauung, but so have 
contemplation and inspection, by which no one would propose to trans 
late it. It has, moreover, the fatal objection of connoting a philo 
sophical idea and theory, which is far removed from Pestalozzi's 
Anschauung. To show this, we give the most authoritative account 
we can find of the two words. 


Contemplatio, intuitio, experientia. 

" Anschauung ist eine sich unmittelbar auf den Gegenstand als 
einzelnen sich beziehende Erkenntniss." Anschauung is a know 
ledge which is directly obtained from a special object. 

" Anschauung ist eine Vorstellung so wie sie unmittelbar von der 
Gegenwart des Gegenstandes abhangen wiirde." Anschauung is a 
mental image, such as would be produced directly by the presence 
of the object. (Kant, Kritik der reinen Vernunft.} 

" Ein unmittelbares Bewusstsein heisst Anschauung." A direct 
consciousness is called Anschauung. 

" Sie sollen es fassen nicht im Denken sondern in lebendiger 

Notes to Letter I. 217 

Anschauung." You must grasp it not in thought, but in vivid 
Anschauung. (Fichte.) 

Grimm's Deutsches Worterbuch. 


1. Mental perception of anything ; immediate knowledge. 

" The truth of these propositions we know by a bare, simple in 
tuition of the ideas, and such propositions are called self-evident." 

2. Knowledge not obtained by deduction of reason, but instantly 
accompanying the ideas which are its object. 

" All knowledge of causes is deductive, for we know nothing by 
simple intuition, but through the mediation of the effects, for the 
causality itself is insensible." (Glanville.) 

" Discourse then was almost as quick as intuition." (South, Ser 

" He thes.e single virtues did survey 
By intuition in his own large breast." (Dryden.) 

Latham's Johnson's Dictionary. 

It is evident that the two words have not the same connotation, 
and that the English word " intuition " does not imply the presence 
of the object before the senses with the same strictness that An 
schauung does in the mouths of Kant and Pestalozzi. 

Pestalozzi uses the word " Anschauung." 

1. For the knowledge obtained by the direct contemplation of the 
object before the senses sense-impression. 

2. (a) For the mental act by which the above knowledge is obtained 

(b) And for the mental faculties by which it is obtained the senses. 

(c) And again, for objects of the world, about which such knowledge 
is gained seen objects. 

Allied to this is the meaning in the following passage : 

" Culture brings up before me the sea of confused phenomena 

(Ansch.) flowing one into the other." ( The Method) So also Anschauung- 

bucher, picture books, Letter I. 

(d) Objects seen possess form, number, colour, light, and shade, 
etc. Pestalozzi considers that form is common to all, and so he 
frequently uses Anschauung as a synonym for FORM, not for form 
alone, but for form plus something else. The nearest equivalent for 
ABC der Anschauung is alphabet of form, though the expression 
is often used in other and wider senses. As Pestalozzi found draw 
ing impossible without measurement, the A B C of Anschauung was 
used for measurement also. Therefore A B C of Anschauung meant 
form, and a means of measuring form (MEASURE-FORM). 

3. For knowledge obtained by contemplation of ideas already in 
the mind, which have not necessarily been derived from the obser 
vation of external objects. This meaning seems at first to contra 
dict the foregoing ; but it is obvious, on reading the passages in 
which this meaning occurs, that Pestalozzi regarded the ideas in 

218 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

question as possible objects of an internal or subjective observation, 
e.g. " knowledge gained by sense-impression teaches me the properties 
of things that have not been brought before my senses by their like 
ness to other objects that I have observed. This mode of observation," 
etc. (Letter VII.) For this meaning the word intuition can appro 
priately be used. 

4. Es (der Kind) lebt in seiner Anschauung (d. h. Gottes). " The 
child lives in contemplation of God." (The Method.} 

The word intuition is used by Pestalozzi, but not as an equivalent 
of Anschauung, unless it be for meaning 3. " I lived entirely upon 
convictions that were the result of countless, though for the most 
part forgotten intuitions " (Letter I.) " Speech was a means . . . 
of representing the actual process of making ideas (Intuitionen) 
clear." (Letter X.) In both these passages it means something dif 
ferent from Anschauung ; it means Anschauungen with the mental 
process which combines them into unity of idea superadded." 
(F. C. T.) "Intuitive ideas given by nature and art" (p. 36), is 
nearer Anschauung. 

17 Burgdorf, town in canton Bern. Here he resumed his inter 
rupted work towards the end of July, 1799. (G., p. 173 seq.) 

18 Gurnigel, a beautifully situated, much frequented bath, f-hour 
below the summit of Mt. Gurnigel, 9 rniles west of Thun. 

19 Bengger, Stapfer, Schnell, and Dr. Grimm. 

Eengger, Albert, 1764-1835, educated as a theologian; became 
tutor to Emanuel von Fellenberg, afterwards studied medicine. 
After some years abroad he settled in Bern, 1789. Became Minister 
of the Interior, 1798. 

Stapfer, Phillipe Albert, 1766-1840, Prof essor of Philosophy and 
Philology, Bern, Minister of Arts and Sciences. He alone remained 
steadfast to Pestalozzi when he left Stanz, and exerted himself to find 
a place where he might carry on his experiments. Stapfer wished 
to found a Teacher's Institute. Fischer submitted his plans to him, 
and Stapfer proposed to the Directorate that they should give up the 
castle of Burgdorf to him. In July, 1799, Fischer went to Burgdorf 
as superintendent of the schools and institutes that he had just 
organized. Stapfer opened a new field of work to Pestalozzi at 
Burgdorf ; he sent a report to the Directory, July 23, 1799 ; on the 
same day they granted him part of Castle Burgdorf as a dwelling, 
and a fixed position as a teacher, with a salary of Livres 160. (Seyf- 
f arth, Introduction.} He founded the Society of Friends of Education, 
June, 1800 ; in July, 1800, a further grant was made to Pestalozzi 
through his efforts, of as much of the Castle of Burgdorf as he 
needed, a garden and wood. (G., p. 201.) Sept., 1800, was ambassador 
to Paris. At the end of the Republic, 1803, he retired into private 
life, and lived in France 37 years. 

Schnell, J., Prefect of Burgdorf. He published a pamphlet, perhaps 
the first on the subject, giving a complete exposition of Pestalozzi'^ 

Notes to Letter I. 219 

views, about October, 1800. Reprinted in Pestalozzi- Blatter, Zurich, 
1888. (G., 174-206.) The first edition of Wie Gertrud closed with an 
extract from a letter of Dr. Schriell. 

Dr. Grimm, an influential citizen of Burgdorf, and a warm friend 
of Pestalozzi. 

20 Hintersassen,or Hintersedler, were non-burgesses, who possessed, 
besides a house, a garden or a bit of field. They were also small 
suburban peasants. Their children attended the school of a worthy 
shoemaker, Samuel Dysli, who carried on his trade in his spare 
time as well as when with the children. His instruction con 
sisted in teaching the children to read in a mechanical, tedious 
manner, and in hearing the Heidelberg Catechism. The room be 
longed to him, and he worked at his trade in it. His teaching 
apparatus consisted of the Spelling and Name Book (Fibel), The 
Beginnings of Christian Doctrine (Siegfried), The Heidelberg Catechism, 
and the usual Psalter. The school contained seventy-three scholars 
of all ages. (G., 175.) 

Morf obtains much information about the wretched condition and 
entire absence of culture among Swiss teachers in Pestalozzi's time 
fromjthe official list of questions which teachers had to answer in 
writing, about their personal relations, their former occupations, 
their future work, their nomination, etc. One teacher, Meyer of 
Schofflesdorf, could not answer the questions because he " could not 
write very well." Another, Meyer of Kloten, " in summer, when he 
has no school, earns his bread by bricklaying. He used to be a watch 
man in the town ; he now works in the garden, and is a rope-maker." 

" We find hardly any trace of a proper schoolroom. The choice of 
a teacher often depended, not on his ability, but on his having a 
room, his family remained in it and carried on their domestic duties 
during school hours. Often neighbours brought their spinning 
wheels, finding more warmth and entertainment there than at 
home. . . . Reading and learning by heart were the pupils' only 
tasks. The big ones were learning aloud, so there was a constant 
hubbub in the school. Class teaching was not thought of. One 
report says : ' The vanity of parents makes them wish their chil 
dren to appear clever. A child is considered clever if he can shout 
the whole catechism without a blunder. If he knows the 119th 
Psalm and can rattle off a few chapters of the Bible (never mind the 
sense), he is a wonder. To read the Bible through is the highest 
point.' " See also Seyffarth, Introduction to " Wie Gertrud," Vol. XL 

Schools of this kind were not confined to Switzerland. Possibly 
some^ exist still, changed it may be in appearance, but unchanged 
in principle. Psalm and catechism are gone, but mere word memory 
work remains. 

21 "The ' Heidelberg ' was in danger." 

The Heidelberg or Palatinate Catechism was compiled and pub 
lished by the Heidelberg theologians, Zacharias Ursinus and Kaspar 

22O How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Olevianus in 1553 by command, and with the co-operation of Prince 
Elector Friedrich III. of the Palatinate. It was and is the most 
popular elementary book of religious instruction in the schools of 
the Swiss Evangelical Confession. The little book has a preponderant 
doctrinal character, and was therefore not suited for Pestalozzi's 

22 This was the Spelling and Beading School kept by Miss Marga- 
retha Stahli the younger. It was attended by 20-25 boys and girls, 
aged 7-8. This must not be confused with the girls' school kept by 
Miss Margaretha Stahli the elder. 

23 " A B C of Anschauung." We are obliged to use Anschauung 
here, so that objects seen, observation, sense-impression, form, measure 
ment, "intuition," and the other meanings included in it, may retain 
the unity Pestalozzi intended. It was while working out his first 
attempts at the A B C of Anschauung that the whole scheme of a 
united method appeared. Here Anschauung is used in a wide general 
sense ; it soon develops and differentiates. The various meanings will 
be noted as they appear. 

24 Ed. 1, p. 30. " I shall work none I am not pre-ordained for 
this. I will have nothing to do with miracles, real or pretended." 

25 Ed. 1, p. 32. " ' Vous voulez mechaniser 1'education.' He hit 
the nail on the head, and put the word into my mouth that exactly 
described the nature of my purpose." Pestalozzi soon afterwards 
found that he had not quite understood Gleyre. 

In the second edition the word " mechanical " is sometimes changed 
to " organic." He altered this word as his thought and knowledge 
became c?ear,as scientific terms are altered with additional knowledge. 
u Mechanical " became sometimes " psychological," then " organic." 
In " Anschauung " he retains his first word, but various meanings 
develop from and are included in it. De Guimp says whenever he 
speaks of mechanism he means organism. " That the mind and heart 
of man no less than his body develop according to organic laws, 
is indeed the fundamental principle of his doctrine " (G., p. 185), but 
he uses mechanical sometimes with its own meaning. 

ae a rp he Art," frequently refered to hereafter, is distinguished by 
a capital from art generally ; it is our " Science and Art of Education," 
which is here first put on a psychological and scientific basis. 

27 Ed. 1, p. . " And in all three branches." An interesting little 
slip. Pestalozzi anticipates the elements, number, form, and lan 
guage, which he describes later ; in Ed. 2 he corrects this. 

28 Ed. 1, p. 36. " In order to make those ideas, which are to be 
imparted by language, clear to the children beforehand by well- 
chosen, well-executed drawings." 

Pestalozzi here says drawings, but in the second edition '''real 
things, models and drawings." The paragraph bears evidence of 

Notes to Letter 7. 221 

revision. Anschauung or pictitre-loooks should precede ABC books 
to make ideas clear by means of well-chosen real objects. At first he 
showed the children large drawings for them to observe and describe. 
This is one of his A B C's of Anschauung. " I made much progress 
in what was called the A B C of Anschauung," says Eamsauer. 
De Guimps adds this note : "Exercises in which the children made 
their own remarks on the object placed before them " (p. 209) our 
" object-lesson." At Burgdorf it is an ABC of Anschauung the 
foundation of all studies. The observation, thought, and expression 
are all the child's; with us the object lesson is isolated, and in this 
way, almost obsolete. "We tell what should be seen, thought, and said. 
This A B C of Anschauung involves expression by words as " obser 
vation " is sometimes used by us. It includes expression by the child 
of what it sees and thinks. 

One day at Burgdorf when they were looking at a drawing of a 
window, a child said, " Could we not learn as well from the window 
itself ? " Another time a similar remark was made. " The child is 
right," said he, and put the drawings away, and studied from objects, 
but he does not exclude drawings. 

Some have naturally supposed that as objects are the sources of 
ideas and knowledge, objects only should be given for drawing 
studies. In Belgium " they reject absolutely the practice of drawing 
from prints. . . . As soon as a child can draw lines, he is set to 
produce geometrical forms, plane surfaces, and solid bodies." (M. 
Couvreur. Conference on Education, "Health Exhib.," Liter., Vol. 
XIV., p. 259). But the child's nature should be considered also, and 
children prefer to draw from copies, even the usual dead copies, but 
copies made with them, by the living teacher or the mother are the 
best. Historically, direct imitation of objects comes later. Possibly 
drawings may have value as well as objects. If they are useful as 
copies for drawing, they may be useful as helps to observation. 

29 Ed. 1, p. 37. " And came soon to know the hardest names of the 
least known animals in Buffon's Natural History, and to notice and 
distinguish clearly points in them as well as in plants and men. 
But yet this test was not decisive for the beginning point of instruc 
tion. This boy had already three unused years behind him, and I 
am convinced," etc. 

30 Ed. 1, p. 39. " I cease describing, lest I should come again upon 
the picture of the schoolmaster, and the terrible contrast between 
their nature, their action, their state, and their misery, and that of 
lovely nature. But, friend, tell me," etc. 

81 Ed. 1, p. 42. " While I was thus on the track of the first begin 
ning points of all instruction for the children who should be educated 
by it from the cradle, and all power for the method itself, I took 
means with the school children who fell into my hands, not having 
been formed by it in direct opposition to my principles," etc. 

222 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

32 Pestalozzi came in many ways into opposition with himself ; 
he tried to cram in when he ought to have " drawn out." Nature's 
method alone is right, he says, and then gives this unnatural parrot- 
like repetition of " dull, uncomprehended words or wildest nonsense, 
absurdly hard, complicated and entirely incomprehensible." We 
must always remember he has only really reached clear ideas about 
his principles within this year, and it is not wonderful that he 
opposes himself ; the habits and thoughts of his life are not all 
reformed and regenerated at once. Possibly, too, something may be 
said in favour of such test exercises. 

33 Fischer, 1772, 1800, was a pupil of Salzmann, in Schnepfenthal. 
Was appointed Secretary of the Science and Art Department by 
Stapfer in 1798. In 1799, with Stapfer's consent, he attempted to 
organize a course of training for teachers in Castle Burgdorf, but 
failed. In 1800 he left Burgdorf, and went back to his post as secre 
tary. He died on the 4th of May, 1800. 

Fischer's letter was printed in full by Steinmtiller, to whom it was 
addressed in his Helvetischer Schulmeisterbiblioihek, vol. i. pp. 216, 
seq. St. Gallen, 1801. The first and last two paragraphs, which 
were not quoted by Pestalozzi, are given here. 

" BURGDORF, Dec. 20th, 1799. 

You have a right to expect that I should at least send you some 
account of Pestalozzi and his undertakings. I propose soon to pub 
lish a much fuller account, and to call the attention of schoolmasters 
to his methods. In the meanwhile you will be interested to have a 
short expose of the principles of it, and this I send you in the following 
few remarks." 

By this plan, of which I have drawn up an abstract from experi 
ments carried on before my eyes, Pestalozzi is endeavouring to gain 
and to maintain the interest of the government and of all school 
masters by uncontrovertible results; he hopes, and has reason to 
hope, that his experiments in Burgdorf, where they find support and 
prosper, will do more to make known the value of what he is doing 
than his efforts at Stanz, which were on a very limited scale, and 
were crushed by a hundred local and personal obstacles. There he 
was over- weighted with work and oppressed by religious and political 
animosities, open or concealed. In Burgdorf he is in a more con 
genial mental atmosphere ; and as the work is less heterogeneous, he 
is more capable of concentrating himself on working out his scheme 
on a liberal scale. 

Meanwhile, Pestalozzi understands that he is wanting in much 
positive knowledge and in practical skill in using his machinery. 
The latter defect he makes up for in a great degree by his inde 
fatigable experiments, and in this way not only are many parts of 
the methods hitherto in use subjected to criticism, but also many forms 

Notes to Letter II. 223 

and details of methods are found and adapted at once to the new 
point of departure. 

He hopes by the friendly aid of his helpers and fellow- workers to be 
able to fill in the gaps which he has had to leave in his school-books ; 
or rather, he will try with their aid to arrange, simplify, and clear 
of unimportant matter, the choice, terminology and arrangement of 
that which is essential. 

It is inspiring to every discoverer who has his heart in his work 
that it shall, and can be perfected by the help of strangers, and so 
Pestalozzi will rejoice to see his rough casting filed down and polished 
up by others." 

34 Steinmuller took great interest in Pestalozzi, and applied to 
Fischer to learn more of his method of teaching. Fischer answered, 
Dec. 6, 1799. On Dec. 31, Steinmuller wrote to thank him, and says, 
" Oh, how true it is that the teacher without psychology does his 
work as badly as an old woman doctoring." Steinmuller in 1803 
criticised Pestalozzi's views and methods in a small pamphlet, 
Remarks upon Pestalozzi's Method of Instruction. It is especially 
directed against exaggerated praise of the method, and disputes to 
some degree the claim of novelty of Pestalozzi's ideas. 

Morf publishes a collection of his letters to Fischer taken from the 
Swiss Archives at Bern, giving an account of his life. 

35 How steadfastly Pestalozzi hoped in mothers, appears clearly in 
this passage. In the first edition he wrote, "Before we get to 1803 " 
(p. 61). This hope was not fulfilled, and yet in the second edition he 
expressed it again, but this time it is " before I am buried." 


1 Kriisi, Tobler and Buss. Kriisi, 1775 ; 1844, Appenzel. 

His career from an errand boy to a fellow-worker with Pesta 
lozzi is given in the text. His situation in Gais brought him plenty 
of work, and 2 gulden a week. For self -culture, he zealously 
studied the works of Basedow, Salzmann, and others, and tried to 
use in school what he learned this way, as well as by his own obser 
vations and experiences from nature and life. He was an active, 
thoughtful teacher, with a lovable disposition, the effects of which 
were soon recognised. At Steinmuller's suggestion he went to 
Fischer at Burgdorf, 1799, with the orphans from Gais, and after 
Fischer's death he joined Pestalozzi, with whom he worked out the 
sense-impression-teaching of word and number (Sprach-und-Rechen- 
unterricht). He accompanied him to Mlinchenbuchsee, and also to' 
Yverdun. He parted from him with great regret in 1817, and 
founded an educational establishment of his own, which soon became 
known. In 1822 he undertook the direction of Hans Karl Zell- 
weger's school in Trogen. and in 1833 the direction of the Teacher's 

224 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Seminary in Gais. He died there, after successful work, July 25, 
1844. Gruner says he was " a man whose unassuming soul and quiet 
talent was formed by much experience. He has a gentle disposition, 
is calm, indefatigable, active and firm. He knows his pupils and 
child-nature generally, and how to treat children." (G., pp. 190-203.) 

His son, Hermann Krtisi, taught in England and America, and his 
Progressive Course of Inventive Drawing on the Principles of Pestalozzi 
was published here by W. F. Ramsey, 1850. 

Tobler, Johann, Georg., 1769 ; 1843. From Trogen, in Appenzell, 
Ausserhoden, went to Basle, 1792, to be trained for the Church, but 
soon gave up theology for teaching. He was a tutor for five years, 
and became director of a girls 1 school in Basle, 1799. In 1800 his 
friend Krtisi introduced him to Pestalozzi, with whom he stayed 
seven years. In 1807 he founded an industrial school at Miihlhausen, 
that soon numbered 600 scholars ; this was closed in 1811. In 1812 
he became master of a private school in Glarus, but left in 1817, 
on account of the famine. After again being a tutor for three years 
he became director of an educational institute founded by himself; 
this he gave to his eldest son in 1831. His last years were spent in 
Basle, where he died at the house of his youngest son, who had a 
boys' school at Nyon. Tobler helped Pestalozzi in his writing. His 
written works consist chiefly of Children's and Popular books. 

Buss, of Tubingen, tells his own history in the text. Afterwards he 
taught drawing in Bern ; Gruner thus describes him. " Buss has 
extraordinary talents, particularly for art. He is born to teach by 
sense-impression. He has indefatigable zeal, energy and skill. Like 
Kriisi he has absolute authority over his pupils, and manages them 
well, showing admirable patience in teaching them." (Riegel.) 

2 Johann Hiibner, rector, Hamburg, 1688-1731, wrote a Biblical 
History, 1714. Twice Two and Fifty Selected Bible Stories. Each story 
was followed by " plain questions." These questions were so compiled 
that they fitted in with the words of the story, and could only be 
answered in the same words. Pestalozzi called this Catechising as 
opposed to Socratising. He makes a great distinction between them. 
" Catechisms, a mere parrot-like repetition of dull uncomprehended 
words." " Socratising real development of thought, mental power and 
expression by means of questions." He objected to Fischer's socratis- 
ing because it was not prepared for and preceded by sense-impression 
or observation of objects, at this time new a to him. "Consider no human 
judgment ripe that is not clearly the result of complete sense-im 
pression of all parts of the object to be judged." (IV.) He would 
rather hold back the judgment until the child had really seen with 
its own eyes the object about which he should express himself from 
all sides and under different conditions. But he believes even now 
strongly in _ Socratising. "I found weakness nowhere except in 
myself and in the art of using what already exists. I tried to 
force in where it is only possible to draw out from within the child 

Notes to Letter II 7 225 

that which is in him and is only to be developed from what is within 
him and cannot be put into him." (Letter I.) Later he is not less 
than Fischer its supporter. " All true, all real educative instruction 
must be drawn out of the children." (Letter I.) 

3 Ed. 1. p. 74. " Afterwards Krtisi tried to combine socratising and 
catechising. But this combination by its very nature leads no further 
than the squaring of the circle that a wood-cutter," etc. 

4 Ed. 1, p. 77. "With time and industry, it is possible to ask 
many questions easily about many subjects." 

5 Ed. 1, p. 84. " I have said, fearlessly, that it is not opposed to 
God or religion to lead up to clear ideas, and endeavour to teach 
children to talk before we cram their memories with the affairs of 
positive theology and its never- to-be-settled disputes." 

6 Ed. 1, p. 88. " All these views, connected with the harmony daily 
becoming clearer between my methods of instruction and nature, 
fully convinced him that all knowledge lay in the union of these 
methods, so that a teacher need only learn how to use them in order to 
raise himself and his pupils by their means to all knowledge that 
can be aimed at by teaching. 

7 Slates. Pestalozzi was led by his limited means to use slates and 
slate pencils. This very practical invention made writing, drawing 
and arithmetic common subjects of instruction at a time when the 
more expensive paper could not have been used. He speaks first 
of using slates at Burgdorf. They were of great service, but he never 
mentions the invention or application as his own. Tobler's state 
ment here is allowed to stand, and is therefore sanctioned by Pestalozzi. 
Chalk too was used. "For drawing we were given only slates and red 
chalk." (Eamsauer's account ; G., p. 181.) 


1 Ed. 1, p. 107. " Show Wieland the A B C der Anschauung and 
ask him if he ever found stronger proofs of powers thrown away." 

Wieland, author of Oberon, was friendly to Pestalozzi. His 
German Mercury, Dec., 1801, contains the first notice of Wie Gertrud. 
It is warmly recommended. In it he says, " Pestalozzi promises 
much, but judging from the first fruits lying before us, he is a man 
to keep 1 his word." 

Buss's A B C of Anschauung is an A B C of Form, of linear form. 
He gives us in the text its purpose. " Children should read outlines 
of forms as they read words, and name the parts, curves and angles, 
with letters, so that lines combined in the outline of an object may be 
as clearly expressed as words by letters." This he did not reach. 
Biber gives a diagram, p. 205, " for the better understanding of what 
is said," and says " it was never published, for it* was soon super 
seded by more matured labours," but this diagram was published, 
1828, by Niederer. It is incorporated in his version of the Report ; 
but if it is Buss's A B C, it could not have existed when Pestalozzi 

226 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

made that Report of the Method. (For diagram see p. 208, " The 
Method") In Letter VII. the ellipse is included, but it is not even 
mentioned here. The smaller squares or chequers for measurement 
became hereafter an A B C of measure-forms. They are the origin 
of the chequers in the Kindergarten, and are now used in our 
Board Schools for various purposes of design. Fragments of the 
unity he sought and strove for are used for the unconnected teach 
ing, that he protested against, and jet they are applied at last to the 
hand-training he from first to last earnestly worked to establish. 

2 Duke Carl Engen of Wurtemburg founded a military training 
at Castle Solitude in 1771" the Carl's School." In 1775 this was 
removed to Stuttgart, enlarged and made into an academy. Schiller 
was educated here. 

3 Ed. 1, p. 119. " In the weakness and superficiality of the instruc 
tion I had received in art. For this reason I failed to grasp its prin 
ciples. I threw all my energy into the special department in which 
Pestalozzi wanted my help." 

4 Ed. 1, p. 126. " How men have language, in order by knowing 
the names of objects to be able more easily to distinguish one from 

5 Ed. 1, p. 127. "However, I estimated the whole method only 
through the medium of a department and its effects upon it. In this 
way I came step by step to see and understand its effects upon other 
branches. I found now by the clue given by my art-teaching how it 
might be possible," etc. 

6 Ed. 1, p. 129. " Which alone make the Art difficult to the human 
race because they undermine the foundation which it has in man 
and lead him away from Nature, who asks nothing of us that is not 
easy, if we only seek it in the right way from her hands only." 

Bichter says, " We see, even this account of one of Pestalozzi's 
fellow- workers is altered in the second edition in one or two places. 
Did Pestalozzi do this ? It is doubtful. It is more likely that Jos. 
Schmid, who brought out ' the collected works,' made these changes, 
for he has been proved to have made arbitrary alterations some 
times. Some other changes in the second edition are due to Schmid. 
But that Pestalozzi did sometimes make alterations appears from the 
preface in which he says that he left the book ' almost unaltered,' 
in fact most of the alterations are limited to forms of expression. 
In some, however, and particularly in the more important altera 
tions, Pestalozzi's'authorship is undoubted, as is evident from their 

This note of Eichter's illustrates the way in which the best editors 
speak of Schmid, while the latter part neutralizes the beginning, 
" most of the alterations are limited to forms of expression." Yes, 
they are often so slight that we could not well represent them in 
translation. For instance, " villages in Bohemia " become " castles 
in Spain" in the second edition ; " dem Auge " becomes " in dem 
Auge," etc., etc. Some are evidently corrections. But if the more 

Notes to Letter IV. 227 

important additions are evidently Pestalozzi's own, the lesser altera 
tions and corrections may also be his ; besides the original communi 
cation of Buss may have been written under circumstances which 
justified these slight alterations by Pestalozzi. No Schmid theory 
is needed to explain them. 


1 Rousseau and Basedow. 

Rousseau. Jean Jacques, 1712-1787. The Revolution last century 
began a new era. It was not like the Renaissance a return to 
an older civilization, with its art and literature, but a return to 
nature. A new faith was growing, and the need was felt for culti 
vating the intellect instead of subjugating it to priestly authority. 
It was a struggle for liberty of thought, speech, and inquiry. 
Rousseau was the man of his time, prepared by special education 
and mental condition for it. " It was his work more than that of 
any other man that France arose from decay and found irresistible 
energy," says Mr. Morley. " For twelve years," he says himself, 
" his heart made hot within him by the idea of the future happiness 
of the human race and the honour of contributing to it," he wrote 
those works which, Mr. Morley says, " gave Europe a new gospel ^" 
and a new education. One of these works, perhaps the best, is 
Emile, By some means he had the very education himself that 
he suggested for " Emile," that of nature. All his life he was outside 
the rules of civilization, " an untamed natural man," a vagabond, 
Quick says. Here are a few fragments from Emile: 

" Everything is good as it leaves the hands of the Creator, everything 
degenerates in the hands of man." are the first words in Emile. 
" We do not understand children ; we fix on what concerns men to 
not what children can learn. Begin by studying children ; most 
assuredly at present you do not understand them. I wish some 
judicious hand would give us a work on the art of studying children." 
At present we do not know its elements. Let childhood ripen in 
children. Their energies overflow ; allow their activities free scope ; 
let them run about and make a noise. "The lessons schoolboys 
learn of each other in play are a hundred times more useful to them 
than those which the master teaches in school." " Exercise the child's 
body, senses, and all his faculties. Avoid learning by heart memory 
may be exercised on things seen and heard. Nothing but words are 
taught, and things not useful ; signs are useless without ideas ; 
without observation of things there can be no clear ideas. The child 
should not be coerced. If your head always directs the child's, his 
own will become useless. The very first thing he takes on trust or 
learns from others without being convinced he loses part of his 
understanding. My object is not to furnish his mind with know 
ledge, but to teach him the method of acquiring it himself. He is 
not to know because he is told, but because he has himself com- 

228 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

prehended he should not learn, "but discover. Avoid telling. Things 
are themselves the best explanations. The grand thing to be educed 
is self-teaching. Progress should be in proportion to strength. 
We acquire more clear, certain notions of ourselves than of others 
who teach us. Learn without effort. Do not keep a boy poring 
over a book ; let him learn a trade, let him work with his hands." 

" Nature wills that children should be children before they are men. 
If we seek to pervert this order, we shall produce forward fruits, 
without ripeness or flavour, and though not ripe, soon rotten : we 
shall have young savans and old children. Childhood has ways of 
seeing, thinking, feeling, peculiar to itself ; nothing is more absurd 
than to wish to substitute ours in its place." 

These quotations will give some idea of the new Education 
founded by Rousseau, and worked out by Pestalozzi, Froebel and 
others. Strangely enough, it agrees with the Renaissance in the 
place given to the child. We must study the child, learn its nature, 
if we would teach it. "We must conquer nature by obeying her." 
Employ the child's activity. Let it learn from things, not books ; it 
is an observer and a doer. Self -activity helps self-teaching. Know 
ledge comes by the action of our mind, not from what it is told. 
The real teacher is within. Teach the method of acquiring know 
ledge. Exercise faculty, and by so doing develop it. (See Quick's 
Educational Reformers, Ed. 1890.) 

Basedow, John Bernard (1723-1790), was one of the earliest 
to feel Rousseau's influence and to apply his principles. Kant 
had said that revolution not reform was wanted in education, 
and Basedow attempted it. " Everything according to nature" 
is his great principle. Treat children as children. They love 
motion and noise, here is a hint from nature. Even in play chil 
dren may learn names of things. (Both Rousseau and Basedow 
agree with Froebel.) They should be acquainted with the world 
through the senses first should learn from nature. Reduce mere 
memory work. Educate the whole being the body by gymnastics, 
the mind by study of things. Coercion is wrong ; children should 
be free. Educate the natural desires and direct them, but never 
suppress. In 1774 he opened an Institute at Dessau, called the 
Philanthropin. At first it was successful but, owing to disputes with 
his associates, he withdrew in 1778 to Magdeburg, where he taught 
privately till his death, 1790. His method had considerable influence 
in Germany. (Raumer, Geschichte der Pddagogik; Quick's Educa 
tional Reformers ; Payne's Lectures on the Science and Art of Education.) 

2 Ed. 1, p. 134. "But they violently put out the eyes of those 
who dare to raise their heads to peep at the splendour of the highest 

3 Ed. 1, p. 138. " And, Gessner, my experiments went further : 
they have thriven and become ripe fruit." 

It is interesting and significant of Pestalozzi 's conception of the 
subject to see how the expression is altered in the second edition. 

Notes to Letters V.-VI. 229 

4 Report. This Report is so important that it is printed as an 
appendix. In it Pestalozzi first states his great fundamental principle 
of Anschauung. At first he limited his purpose to improving details 
in existing schools, and when he left Stanz, he says at the beginning 
of his letter that even his old plans for educating the people began 
to wither. But this Report marks a new epoch. He is now a 
Reformer of Education, not an Improver of Instruction. What he 
observed at Stanz had germinated and developed, and the first 
printed expression of the method of Burgdorf is this Report. The 
next is Wie Gertrud. 

5 Ed. 1, p. 145. " This physical nearness or distance determines 
all that is positive in your sense-impression, your technical training, 
and even in your virtue. 


1 Pestalozzi's frequent use of the word " wesentlich." essential, 
is due to scientific and philosophical ideas now no longer held. 
From Plato downwards the qualities of objects were divided into 
two classes, essential aud accidental. To some extent this corre 
sponds to the distinction drawn by Mill between connotativQ and 
nonconnotative qualities, i.e. those qualities which help to decide 
the classification, and so are implied in the use of tke name, and 
those that do not. (F. C. T.) 

2 Ed. 1, p. 150. " This mechanism of your nature." 

In two places in this paragraph " mechanism " has been altered in 
the second edition to "organism." 


1 Form is one of the key- words in Kant's philosophy. To put 
the matter simply, the manner in which we think is determined by 
the nature of our minds, and it is impossible for us to think of any 
object except as existing in time and space. Time and space, there 
fore, are not to us properties of the external world, but the form in 
which alone it can be thought. Although Pestalozzi does not use 
the word strictly in the Kantian sense, his use of it is coloured 
thereby. Following Grimm, we get those meanings that have any 
bearing on the use of the word in Wie Gertrud. 

1. Outline of figure, shape. 

" A just appreciation of all form." (P.) 

2. As opposed to matter. 

3. The vessel or mould in which a work is made. 

5. (Technical.) The frame in which type is set. 
(Metaph.) " must be fitted into/brms." (P.) 

6. The form of a legal process (rel. to 2). 

" Ein Widerspruch in der besten Form." (Kant.) 
A. contradiction in the best form. 

230 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

8. General for manner. 

" Aber in den heitern Regionen 
Wo die reinen Formen wohnen 
Rauscht des Jammers trtiber Sturm nicht mehr." (Schiller.} 

9. Visualization, sense representation of phenomenon. 

"The Kingdom of God can be represented in the visible form 
of a church." 

Pestalozzi's special meanings, which do not exactly correspond to 
any of the above, though they follow immediately upon them, are 

(a) Model, type. Urform, prototype. 

" The form discloses itself independent like the human race." (P.) 

" All instruction is nothing but this ; it is derived from the typical 
form of human development." (P.) 

" Everything depends on the exact knowledge of this prototype." 

(6) Method imposed by the facts of human nature. 

" The Art leads us no further than the spirit of that/orm by which 
the race is raised from vague sense-impressions to clear ideas." (P.) 

" The/orm or rather the different methods of teaching languages." 
(P.) F. C. T. 

2. The Elements were not reached when The Method was written. 


1 Sound teaching. His natural means of teaching at Stanz was the 
living voice; and here he begins with sounds, not with names, or 
forms of letters. The child should be able to repeat the sounds 
easily before the forms are put before his eyes. Phonetics he had 
not reached. " Always connect a consonant with a vowel, because 
it cannot be pronounced alone." "We here see," says Seyffarth, 
" the beginning of the method of teaching by sound, instead of the 
more difficult method of spelling." 

* Spelling Book. "Hints on Teaching Spelling and Beading," pub 
lished 1801. Pestalozzi calls this the " Spelling Book." It consists of 
syllables and words, from which other words can be made by adding 
letters or syllables before or after. " But when Pestalozzi more fully 
comprehended the method of spelling, he felt it was deficient and 
unnatural, and tried to improve it. He combined sentences about 
real objects with the spelling course, exercised the children in spell 
ing by ear before he taught them the symbols in writing, and 
arranged the letters in groups, which he used by degrees. Movable 
letters, pasted on cards, spread through his influence. But he fell 
into the error of putting a certain number of letters together in the 
most complicated manner, without troubling himself whether the 
words thus produced were used in speaking or not ; and by so doing 
encouraged the use of sounds without meaning, against which he so 
strongly protests. For instance, he put O T I N together in the follow 
ing ways: nito, toin, into, onit, toni, tino, tion" (Schindler, Theoretical 
and Practical Handbook for First School Teaching. Quoted by Beck}. 

Notes to Letter VII. 231 

8 Ed. 1. p. 171. " These should be repeated daily by the child who 
is learning to spell, in the presence of the child in the cradle, that 
the latter may become conscious of these sounds through constant 
repetition," etc. 

4 Singing. This method was soon applied to singing by Nageli 
and Pfeiffer. There is no study in this country where his influence 
has been greater, or his method used so effectively as in the teaching 
of singing. The Rev. John Curwen, founder of the Tonic Solfa 
method, said at a discussion on Pestalozzi at the Education Society, 
that he came on purpose to testify how much and how deeply he 
was indebted to him ; and Mrs. J. S. Curwen tells me he was always 
ready to acknowledge it, and that before he attempted to teach 
singing he was familiar with Pestalozzi's method, and used it. 

5 The Mother's Book never existed, so Pestalozzi himself says. (Note, 
Letter X.) That is, not as he conceived it. One of his elementary 
books, published 1803, was called The Mother's Book, or Hints to 
Mothers on Teaching their Children to Observe and Talk. But this 
book was nearly all of it written by Kriisi, and its fundamental 
idea that of using the human body as the basis for the first lessons 
in sense-impression Krusi owed to Basedow. Parts 1-6 are by 
Krtisi ; part 7 and the introduction are by Pestalozzi ; 10 parts were 
proposed, but only 7 were published. The separate parts called 
" Exercises" in the book are: 

1. Observation, and naming the parts of the body ; 2. Their posi 
tion ; 3. Their connection ; 4. Which parts are single, double, etc. ; 
5. Characteristics of each separate part ; 6. Comparison of parts ; 
7. Function. 

The three remaining exercises were to have been : 

8. What belongs and is necessary to the care of the body; 9. 
Various uses of the special parts 5 ; 10. Summary and descrip 

Pestalozzi seems to have thought that his fellow- workers under 
stood his ideas better, and were more capable of carrying them out 
than he was himself. But he saw later they were not, as the note 
in Letter X. and the Preface to Ed. 2 shows. "We were too 
different," he says. None had had his experience ; none followed so 
heartily his way of experiment and observation. This, then, is not 
his conception of the Mother's Book ; it is only a part, and an 
unsatisfactory part of what he proposed. He often indicates his 
notion of it, especially in Letter X. "The first course in the Mother's 
Book is an attempt to raise sense-impression to an art, and to lead 
the child by form, number, and speech to a comprehensive con 
sciousness of all ssnse-impression, the more definite concepts of 
which will constitute the foundation of his later knowledge." ".I 
have impressed the first ten numbers on the child's senses," etc. 
These quotations show the difference between his conception of the 
Mother's Book and the portion published. 

This book was attacked and criticised more than any other of his 

232 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

elementary "books, and perhaps justly. It was natural to suppose 
that the body, so near to the child, would interest it, and attract 
its early observation. But to see ourselves as others see us is a late 
acquirement ; its own body, as seen externally, the child observes 
less than many other things entirely outside it. If we may judge 
from its own drawings, its fixed notion is that the eyes are at the top 
of the head ; it does not see or feel and is unconscious of the brain 
and bone above them. Thousands of children's drawings repeat and 
confirm this. I have seen the eyes placed so high that a line, 
representing either eyelid or eyelash, had to be put outside the 
outline of the head itself. The child conceives of the arm as rounded, 
because its smooth action is felt within, not seen without, and the 
inner feeling is stronger than sight. Naturally, then, the child does 
not accurately observe its own body, as seen from without, very 

Here are two criticisms on the book: "The lessons on the body 
treat the over-abundant material with almost anatomical exact 
ness and completeness. What can the poor mother and children 
make of these long sentences, difficult for them to understand, and 
impossible to remember? " The right cheek, or jowl, lies beneath 
the right eye and the right temple, in front of the right ear on the 
right side of the nose, the mouth and the chin." (Ex. 2.) " The ten 
fingers of my two hands have twenty-eight joints ; ten at the top, 
eight in the middle, and ten below. Twenty-eight phalanges ; ten 
at the top, eight in the middle, and ten below ; and twenty-eight 
knuckles ten at the top, eight in the middle, and ten below." (Ex. 4.) 
The French journalist, Dussault, ridicules this. " Pestalozzi takes 
a world of trouble to teach a child that his nose is in the middle of 
his face." But, strangely enough, the child does not know this simple 
fact ; and if he did, he could not clearly express it. The child may 
be surprised and stimulated to observe more carefully, when it 
realises that it does not know it. Further, accurate description of 
even the most common and best known objects, is difficult for 
children and others. The form or model in the Mother's Book is not 
the best for this. But to be obliged to describe accurately demands 
careful observation and the right use of words. The idea is not 
complete till it can be expressed in some way. We cannot tell if it 
is complete, nor can the child or student, until it is expressed. 
Pestalozzi's Mother's Book is an attempt to raise sense-impression 
to an art. " Hints on teaching children to observe and talk," is 
its second title. In the introduction he says: "Mother, you must 
learn by the clue given by my method or my book, to choose a few 
essential objects out of the ocean of sense-impressions, in which your 
helpless child is swimming. This is essentially necessary and, 
mother, never neglects, while using the exercises in observation and 
speech, to dwell indefatigably and stedfastly upon each separately, 
as well as upon the book as a whole, until the child understands the 
object and its parts according to the point of view of every exercise, 

Notes to Letter VII. 233 

perfectly and accurately, and has learned to express himself not 
only clearly, but with absolute fluency." 

Here is criticism' of another kind: The Mother's Book "gave a 
false impression of his method," says de Guimp. " People did not 
sufficiently understand that these series of statements were to result 
from the child's own observation and experience ; they only saw in 
them a lesson to be learned by heart, mechanically. And thus, not 
without some show of reason. Pestalozzi's method has been blamed 
for a defect which is precisely the defect it was intended to cure." 
(pp. 246, 247.) A book or manual for the teacher, scientific with 
out being didactic one that the uninstructed might use as well as 
the instructed, he had not discovered. Possibly, Spencers Intentional 
Geometry, or Huxley's Biology are nearer what he sought. If you are 
to teach without knowledge and it is possible if you are to lead 
others to learn as you learn yourself, then real knowledge of the 
method is necessary, that is practical knowledge of the "physical 
mechanism," or the mental organism, psychology ; and this depends 
on actual observation, not on books. He says in '^the Preface, " I 
cannot prevent the forms of my method from having the same fate 
as all other forms, which inevitably perish in the hands of men 
who are neither desirous nor capable of grasping their spirit." To 
grasp the spirit is the great difficulty ; it is easier to learn than to 
observe how we learn; it is a further difficulty to perceive the 
causes which prevent another learning. Until the value of observ 
ing the outer is appreciated, observation of the inner may be 
disregarded. If these long sentences are to be repeated without 
clear sense-impression at first and the teacher who does not grasp 
the method is sure to undervalue, and even ignore this then the 
mere repetition becomes as bacl as the worst parrot-like repetition 
Pestalozzi denounces. But if the facts are really clearly impressed 
on the senses, it will be well for the child to form its own expression, 
for that will indicate the state and growth of its thought. At first, 
all there is in objects is not seen ; thought, expression, and observation, 
alternate and help each other, as thought and act alternate in ex 
periments, and lead finally to complete thought the imperfect 
expression guides the teacher. Pestalozzi has some faith in ^ the 
" mechanical," perhaps derived from the allied province of "^activities " 
where it is necessary. His children so Herbart and others testify 
could draw very wonderfully, but they were drawing for hours 
daily. Here 'the repetition exercises told; but to repeat mere 
formulas of words is quite another thing. 

This book probably suggested to Froebel his Mutter und Koselieder. 

6 Ed. 1, p. 196. " What does it say of him as a reasonable being 
struggling upwards towards inner independence and self-ennoble 
ment ? " 

7 Ed. 1, p. 212. " To fall is to move downwards without or against 
your will." 

8 " A legacy:" 1 Pestalozzi left a work in MS. called The Natural 

234 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Schoolmaster, written between 1802-1805, which contains several 
exercises of the kind referred to. He gave it to Kriisi, who published 
it, or a selection from it and other works, under the title of A Fathers 
Lessons on the Customary Use of Words, a Legacy from Father Pestalozzi 
to His Pupils, 1829. The manuscript, in Pestalozzi's handwriting 
throughout, is in Morf's possession. It is printed in Seyffarth's Ed., 
vol. 16. Pestalozzi began this before the Mothers Book was pub 
lished. After talking to the child about his physical impressions, 
he thought it would be well to talk about his moral impressions, 
and he took words for his text. The "moral lesson" and its 
Socratising was as regular with us as the " object lesson," but 1 
never hear of it now. 

9 Ed. 1, p. 212. " I should try to connect truth, correct sense- 
impressions and pure feelings with every word describing human 
action or condition." 

10 Ed. 1, p. 213. " But if the State allows the proprietor or itself 
a power opposed to this purpose, then special actions of the rich 
and powerful, springing from this, will rouse, as far as they are felt, 
feelings never to be quite extinguished in the human breast, of its 
original equal rights in the division of the land ; and if they become 
universal, will produce revolutions, so long as men are men. The 
evils of this cannot be mitigated or remedied except by turning them 
back to the limits of the purpose for the sake of which," etc. 

11 Ed, 1, p. 216. " To teach the humble folk to talk, but have made 
the speechless people learn isolated, abstract words by heart." 

12 Ed. 1, p. 216. " To keep their lowest classes always lowest and 
always stupid." 

13 Ed. 1, p. 217. " ' Yes ! yes ! ' say the clergy. ' When they come to 
us they understand not a word of our teaching.' ' Yes ! yes ! ' say 
the magistrates, ' even when they are right it is impossible for them 
to make their rights intelligible to man.' The lady complains 
loudly and piteously, 'They are hardly a step higher than cattle; 
they can be used for no service.' Thick-heads that cannot count 
five, find them stupider than themselves, and rogues of many kinds 
call out, each with his own gesture : ' Well for us that it is so ; were 
they different, we could neither buy so cheap, nor sell so dear at the 

" Friend ! this is the way all the people in the stalls of the Great 
European Christian Theatre talk of the people in the gallery, and 
they cannot speak in any other way, because, for more than a cen 
tury, those in the gallery have been made by them soul-less, as no 
Asiatic and heathen people ever were. I once more explain it. The 
Christian people of our part of the world have sunk so low because 
for more than a century, in our lower schools, empty words have 
been given an importance to the human mind that not only over 
powered attention to the impressions of nature, but even destroyed the 
inner susceptibility to such impressions in men. I say again, while 
men did that, and degraded the Christian people of Europe to a people 

Notes to Letter VI 7. 235 

of words and chatter, as no people have ever yet been degraded, 
they never taught them to talk. It is no wonder that the Christianity 
of this century and this land looks as it does ; on the contrary, it is 
wonderful that good human nature, in spite of all the bungling arts 
that are tried in our word and clapper schools, has still preserved so 
much inward strength as we always find in the midst of the peo 
ple. Yet, praised be God ! The stupidity of all these ape-like arts 
finds at last a counterpoise in human nature itself, and ceases to be 
harmful to our race when its apeings have reached the highest point 
that we can bear. Folly and error," etc. 

Karl Biedel's comment on this is worth repetition, even here 
where we are so often told that we have got beyond Pestalozzi and 
need his method no more : 

" Saldom has all word-teaching, all weakness in school teaching 
teen so boldly and frankly criticised as here by Pestalozzi with all 
justice and noble wrath. Parents, teachers, teachers' trainers and 
school inspectors should never forget for one instant that only^by 
instruction founded upon the Pestalozzian principle of sense-im 
pression and self-activity that avoids every uncomprehended or 
superfluous word can ' word and clapper ' schools be set aside. 
This cannot be too often repeated." 

14 u Word and clapper folk " ; words and empty phrases ; " sound 
ing brass and tinkling cymbals." 

15 Seyffarth ends Letter VII. here ; his Letter VIII. begins with 

16 Pestalozzi summarises here his meanings of " Anschauung." 
All knowledge arises from 

(1) Impressions made by all that comes accidentally into contact 
with the five senses. The objects are in no order, but in natural con 
fusion. The action on the mind is limited and slow. There is but 
little if any active living interest in the mind. No attention. 

(2) Attention. Teachers call attention to .what they consider impor 
tant, and so arouse consciousness, and deepen the impression. There 
is order in the presentation, and the thought is connected. The Art 
of teaching guides the selection, and exercises the thought. 

(3) Spontaneous efforts. But what the teacher presents does not 
always absorb the whole attention, sometimes not at all. The child 
has its own interests. Some knowledge it strongly desires, and 
therefore will seek this of its own free will, and throw its whole soul 
into the search. The will, stimulated by self -activity of all the facul 
ties, prompts to spontaneous efforts. This is a step towards moral 
self-activity and independence. 

(4) Necessary work. Man must satisfy his wants and wishes, he 
must work, he must know and think that he may be able to do. This 
is especially considered in Letter XII. To know, Anschauung is 
necessary, and knowing and doing are so intimately connected that if 
one ceases, the other ceases also. Anschauung and Fertigkeit, 
observation and experiment, seeing and doing, impression and 

236 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

expression united, lead to clear ideas, generalisations and educa 

(5) Analogy and Subjective observation. The unseen is understood 
by its likeness to the seen. We classify and know by analogy. 
What we can remember we compare, reason about, judge and 
generalize. " The results of sense-impression are changed into the work 
of my mind and all my powers.' 1 ' 1 This wider meaning includes the 
whole psychological sequence. 

Pestalozzi's Anschauung covers as much or more than Words worth's 

" Which in truth 

Is but another name for abstract powers 
And clearest insight, amplitude of mind 
And Reason in her most exalted mood." Prelude. 

Prof. Ruskin has alwa3 T s insisted on the value of seeing. " The 
sight is more important than the drawing." (Elements of Drawing.) 
Compare one of his many passages. u How many manner of eyes are 
there? You physical-science students should be able to tell us 
painters that. We only know in a vague way the external aspect 
and expression of eyes. We see, as we try to draw the endlessly 
grotesque creatures about us, what infinite variety of instruments 
they have ; but you know far better than we do how those instruments 
are constructed and directed. You know how some play in their 
sockets with independent revolution, project into near-sightedness 
on pyramids of bone, are brandished at the points of horns, studded 
over backs and shoulders, thrust at the ends of antennae to pioneer 
for the head, or pinched up into tubercles at the corners of the lips. 
But how do the creatures see out of all these eyes ? 

"No business of ours you may think? Pardon me. This is no 
Siren's question this is altogether business of ours, lest, perchance 
any of us should see partly in the same manner. Comparative sight 
is a far more important question than comparative anatomy. It is no 
matter, though we sometimes walk and it may often be desirable to 
climb like apes ; but suppose we should only see like apes or like 
lower creatures ? I can tell you the science of optics is an essential 
one to us, for exactly according to these infinitely grotesque direc 
tions and multiplications of instrument you have correspondent not 
only intellectual but moral faculty in the soul of the creatures. 
Literally, if the eye be pure, the body is pure ; but, if the light of the 
body be but darkness, how great is that darkness." (The Eagles Nest, 
1887, pp. 127-8.) 

17 The five paragraphs which follow are not in Niederer's version 
of The Report of the Method.. 

is Measurement." Compare this with what Prof. Buskin says on 
our public schools of art system. " The first error in that system is 
the forbidding accuracy of measurement, and enforcing the practice 
of guessing the size of objects. . . . the student finishes his in 
accurate drawing to the end, and his mind is thus during the whole 

Notes to Letter VI II. 237 

process of his work accustomed to falseness of every contour. Such 
a practice is not to be characterised as merely harmful it is ruinous." 
Laws of Fesole, Preface, pp. vii., viii. Pestalozzi, however, carried 
measurement to extremes, until form was lost. The Author of The 
Two Paths would net agree to this. One of Pestalozzi's strong 
points is, that in teaching the child, we should follow the natural 
course of the race. The Laws of Fesole are so called because they are 
" founded on principles established by Giotto in Florence, he re 
ceiving them from the Attic Greeks through Cimabue, the last of 
their disciples.' 1 Pestalozzi's principle is admitted here as the foun 
dation of teaching art. It is not generally admitted, and is applied 
less frequently, perhaps not even in these Laws of Fesole. 

19 These measuring-forms are the squares in Buss's A B C of Form, 
(The Method. Appendix): "measuring sub-divisions of the square" 
are those underlying the general form. The child is to be so familiar 
with the measure-forms that they become a kind of instinct. Then 
they are needed no longer; without this help he can represent all 
proportions and express himself clearly about them. Froebel adopts 
these measured squares to get over the difficulty children have of 
measuring for invention, but we hear nothing about abandoning 
them later. 

20 "First oval, half oval," etc. In Letter III. ovals or "elongated 
forms of the circle " are not mentioned at all. What he means by 
" oval " is not clear, but Herbart explains it. " Pestalozzi also has 
taken up the ellipse in the ABC der Anschauung. He calls it 
somewhat erroneously the oval" (Herbart, Pad. Schriften, vol. ii. 
p. 142). Pestalozzi has not understood or appreciated this form or 
its allies, nor its parts. His description " elongated form of the 
circle " shows this. He mentions it and leaves it. It seems to me 
that the oval is the fundamental form of all living things, and until 
some line of graduated curvature, such as the quadrant of the 
ellipse, is added to elementary lines, and the ellipse or oval, to our 
general forms, an A B C of Form is impossible, useless, injurious. 
Pestalozzi's failed partly because he did not see this, as I have tried 
to show in a paper on " Neglected Elements in Art Teaching " (Trans. 
Teachers Guild, 1887). I did not know when that was published 
that Pestalozzi recognised the ellipse or oval at all. Biber says 
nothing about it. The entire absence of satisfactory accounts of 
Pestalozzi's work drives us to the original works. 


1 Fractions Table. Pestalozzi has three tables, (1) Table of Units, 
which is not referred to here, and possibly did not yet exist, con 
sisting of twelve rows of twelve rectangular spaces ; in each space of 
the first row is one stroke, in each of the second two strokes, and 
so on, up to twelve strokes. (2) Table of Simple Fractions, and (3) 

238 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

Table of Compound Fractions, as here described. The plate gives 
the left hand half of the third table. 

2 Pestalozzi's " narrow sense " seems wider than this. He has reduced 
form to the square only. He never really saw the value of the oval 
and ellipse. He can teach number by these measure-forms, but he 
cannot reverse the process and teach form by them, nor by number 
nor by words. His " Elements " have not the same foundation as his 
^ Anschauung, Psychology, and Prototype." What value there is 
in them rests on these principles, not on the harmony which he 
endeavours to establish between these elements. 

3 Ed. 1, p. 271. " Here too we can say with decision, this reckoning 
is an exercise for the reason only, and is in no way a mere work of 
memory and no routine-like help to trade. It is the result of the 
clearest, most definite sense-impressions, and leads easily, by simple 
evidence, to truth. 


1 " Educational " here should be " Instructional." 

Except in this case we have translated Unterricht by instruction. 
It is Pestalozzi's usual term. Erziehung (education) he made the 
current term it is now. but it often has not his meaning. Instead 
of " drawing out," it frequently means " cramming in." 

2 Ed. 1, p. 277. "Because it opened the mouth of the obvious 
stupidity of a monkish and feudal world to express abstract ideas, 
that the most perfect wisdom of the most intellectual life of our race 
can never solve." 

3 Zungendrescherei, literally tongue-threshing. Tongue-twisting 
or turning sophistry ; twisted words or twisted talk. 

This is one of his many characteristic words, not easily translated. 
Like Maulbrauchen, Letter I. 


1 If this passage is from The Method it is not to be found in 
the Niederer version. When he referred to the Eeport in Letter I., he 
said, " six months ago," here " more than a year ago." But Wie 
Oertrud was not published till October, 1801." 

In this letter we have said " the art of sense- impression (or observa 
tion}" to distinguish it from sense-impression, but Pestalozzi uses 
"art of sense-impression" only. "What Pestalozzi meant," says 
J. H. Fichte, is "that only can become the pupil's, or even the man's, 
true mental possession which he has raised for himself to a perfectly 
clear mental picture (Anschauung'}, that is, has thought out and has 
reproduced out of himself from his own knowledge through the self- 
activity of his mind. It is only then that it becomes one with his 
consciousness. It is become evident, real, to him a conviction which 
is theoretically and practically at his command at any moment of 




.240 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

his life " (Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift, No. 127, 1869). " This is rt 
what Pestalozzi meant by his art of sense-impression," Richter J 
(Exkurse Wie Gertrud, p. 187). 

2 Ed. 1, 289. "Number also in itself, without a foundatio: 
sense-impression is a phantom for our mind. The child must k 
its form before he is in a position to consider it as a number-rela 
i.e., as the basis of a clear consciousness of few or many." 

3 Ed. 1, p. 301. " My grammar is only a series of methods 
leading the child by every kind or change of word-combination f 
vague sense-impressions to clear ideas." 

4 Ed. 1, p. 303. " But I am convinced by experiments, whicl 
at the base of this statement, and have come with decision to re 
all half measures, and to put aside all text-books for elementary 
struction which are based on the supposition," etc. 

5 Ed. 1, p. 304. "And since all instruction books which are wri 
in the usual grammatical way assume this, I would, had I influe 
act quite mercilessly towards school libraries, or at any rate tow; 
those elementary books which are meant for the youngest c 

6 Ed. 1, p. 305. " Will there be even a few who wish, with 
that I may succeed in checking and putting an end to the mad t. 
in empty words that is enervating our generation, by making \> 
and sound unimportant to the imagination of men, and in resto: 
to sense-impression that preponderance over word and sound in 
struction that obviously belongs to it ? " 

7 Ed. 1, p. 305. " Yes, friend, there will long be few, very 
The babble of our time is so closely connected with the br< 
getting, and the ordinary association of tens and hundreds 
thousands together, that it must be long, very long, before the : 
of our time can take that truth " etc. 

8 Ed. 1, p. 306. " Such pupils never dream that they are dre 
ing and sleeping ; but all wakeful men round them feel their 
sumption, and if they are kind look on them as night wander* 

9 Ed. 1, p. 307. " I well know that the one good method is nei 
;n my hands nor in any other man's, but with all the power lyin 
my hands I try to approach this one true good (method)." 

10 Ed. 1, p. 307. " 1 have one rule in judging all others. ' By t 
fruits shall ye Jcnoio them? " 

11 Ed. 1, p. 308. " Can be nothing but developed faculties and c 
ideas. Oh, if starting from this point of view, they would ask th 
selves at every step, ' Does it really further this end ? ' ' 

12 Ed 1, p. 310. " In this way and no other can the child be 
to definitions which give him ideas of the thing to be defined, 
definitions are only the simplest and purest expression of clear id 
but, for the child, definitions contain actual truth only so far as 
has a clear, vivid background of sense-impression." 

13 Ed. 1, pp. 314-316. " You must distinguish the laws of nal 

Notes to Letters XI. -XII. 241 

from her course, that is, from special workings and statements about 
these workings. In respect to her laws she is eternal truth, and for 
us the eternal standard of all truth. But in respect to her course 
and the statements about her course she is not satisfactory to the 
individual of my race ; she is not all-satisfying truth. Careful of the 
whole, she is careless of the single creature and particularly of man, 
whose self-dependence she will lessen by no kind of guardianship. 

" In this aspect and no other, be it understood that she is careless 
and blind, and that she requires that the guidance of our race should 
be taken out of her hands. Bat in this respect it is quite true and 
urgent for my race. When you leave the earth to nature, she bears 
weeds and thistles, and when you leave the training of your race to 
her, she carries it on no further than to a confusion of sense-impres 
sions, necessary for your first lessons, but now unfit either for your 
own power of comprehension or for that of your child. Therefore it 
is neither to the forest nor the meadow that the child must go to 
learn herbs and trees. Trees and herbs stand not there in the orders 
which are most suitable to make the essentials of every relationship 
visible (anschaulich) to him, and through this first impression of the 
thing itself to prepare him for general knowledge of the subject." 


1 Ed. 1, pp. 322-324. "Now my method gives this passage a kind of 
truth which I could not imagine then ; it is now incontestable. In 
it I take no share in all the strife of men, I teach through it neither 
truth nor error. It spreads its influence not one step beyond what 
is undeniable, it touches on no opinion that is disputed among men, 
it is not the teacher of truths, it is the teacher of truth ; and combines 
the results of physical necessity, at which the mechanism of my Art 
is aiming, with the complete certainty of my judgment. 

"Friend, there is no presumption in my heart. Throughout my 
life I have wished for nothing but the salvation of the people, whom 
I love, and whose misery I feel as few feel it, because I have suffered 
with them as few have done before. However, when I say there is a 
mechanism which results from physical necessity, I do not therefore 
say I have developed all its laws ; and when I say there is a rational 
course of instruction, it does not follow that I have fully stated this 
course. In the whole account of my doings, I have tried far more to 
make the security of my principles clear than to set up the very 
limited action of my own little individuality as a standard of what 
may and must come from the full development of these principles 
for the human race. I do not know myself, and I feel daily more 
and more how much I do not know." 


1 Ed. 1, p. 332. _ " I see in it the ideal of the lost innocence of my 
race, but I see in it also the ideal of the shame which the memory of 

242 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

this lost holiness always awakens in me, so long as I am worthy, 
and so long as I am worthy ever revives within me the power of 
seeking what I have lost and of saving myself from ruin. Friend, 
so long as man is worthy of the sublime characteristic of his race, 
speech, so long as he uses it with a pure desire to ennoble himself 
through it, it is a high and holy thing. But when he is no longer 
worthy, when he uses it with no pure desire to ennoble himself, it 
will be to him and for him the first cause of ruin, a wretched pro 
moter of much misery, an inexhaustible source of unspeakable 
illusion and a lamentable cloak for his crimes. Friend, it is true 
terribly true the depravity of language grows with the depravity 
of man.^ Through it the wretched become more wretched; through 
it the night of error becomes still darker ; through it the crimes of 
the wicked still increase. Friend, the crimes of Europe are still in 
creasing through idle talk. We cannot guess to what this ever- 
increasing list of publications will lead a generation whose weak 
ness, confusion and violence have already reached the stage we 

This passage has been extended but not much altered in the 
second edition, 

2 After Anschauung, the most difficult word to translate is 
FERTIGKEIT, which literally means (1) promptitude or readiness; (2) 
readiness and skill in performing some action. 

It is not easy to find a satisfactory English equivalent in this 
sense. The following quotations given in Grimm, in addition to one 
from Wie Gertrud, will make the meaning quite clear. (The English 
equivalent in each case is in italics.) 

" Da nemlich, es kurz zu sagen, diese E-einigung in nichts anders 
beruhet als in der Verwandlung der Leidenschaften in tugendhafte 
Fertigkeiten." "As, to put it shortly, this purification consists of 
nothing less than the transformation of the passions into habits of 
virtuous action." (Lessing.) 

" Ihr alle reimt mit gleicher Fertigkeit." " You all rhyme with 
equal facility. ," (Gellert.) 

" Die Eigenschaften, die Fertigkeiten des Lichts rege zu machen." 
" To bring the properties, the capabilities of light into play." (Goethe.) 

"Er besitzt eine ausserordentliche Fertigkeit in Geigen." "He 
possesses extraordinary skill in fiddling." (F. C. T.) 

"Fertigkeiten" we have generally translated "activities." but 
several other equivalents are used, e.g. (1) acts, actions ; (2) powers 
of doing, skill, practical skill, technical skill ; (3) practical ability, 
abilities, faculties, capacities; e.g. (1) "We are far behind the 
greatest barbarians in the A B C of acts or actions (gymnastics} and 
their skill in striking and throwing," etc. " These contain the 
foundations of all possible actions on which human callings depend." 
(2) " The people do not enjoy in regard to culture in skill (technical 
education) one scrap of that public and universal help from govern 
ment that each man needs. In no way do they enjoy the culture of 

Notes to Letter XII. 243 

thoss practical abilities" (3) "The abilities (capacities, talents, etc.) 
on the possession of which depend all the powers of knowing and 
doing (Konneri) that are required of an educated mind and noble 
heart, come as little of themselves as intelligence and knowledge." 
" Powers of knowing and doing.' 1 ' 1 " Can " and " ken " are derived from 
the same root as the German konnen and kennen ; the present tense 
"can" is the preterite of the obsolete verb meaning know, so that 
its real meaning is / have known or learnt, and therefore am able to do. 
I ken, therefore / can ; knowledge and skill are inseparable. See 
Murray's Dictionary. 

This whole series of meanings, as with Anschauung, are connected. 
"Knowing and doing are so closely connected that if one ceases 
the other ceases with it." Doing has a double function ; by 
doing, thought is expressed, and by doing thought is also gained 
and made clear. It is Anschauung, by experience, through the 
sense of touch or active movement; impression and expression 
combine. The whole psychological sequence of Pestalozzi is im 
pression, clear idea or knowledge, and expression. Observe, think, 
do, and know. One kind of Anschauung, he says, Letter VII. is 
obtained " by working at one's calling." He connects observation 
and experience. 

3 Ed. 1, p. 335. " Thought and action should stand in such close 
relation to each other, that, like spring and stream, if one cease the 
other ceases with it." 

4 Ed. 1, p. 336. " Mechanical laws." " The mechanism of nature." 

5 Abrichtungsverderben, degeneracy or decadence caused by arti 
ficial or circus training ; that is, training possible but not in har 
mony with the true nature of the creature trained. 

6 This entire passage and the beginning of the next is altered in 
the later edition. We give it here as it stands in the first edition, 
and also fill up the " great gap " once more. 

Ed. 1, p. 324. " The individual man has not lost the consciousness 
of these important requirements for his development. His natural 
instinct, together with the knowledge he possesses, drives him to this 
path. The father does not leave his child wholly to Nature, still less 
the master his apprentice, but governments make infinitely more mistakes 
than men. No corporation is influenced by instinct, and where in 
stinct does not act truth enjoys but half its right. 

" It is a fact that no father is guilty towards his son, no master to 
wards his apprentice, of that which the government is guilty towards 
the people. The people of Europe do not enjoy in regard to their cul 
ture in skill (Fertigkeit=tecbxdca,l education) a vestige of that public 
and general help from government that each man needs in order by 
wise care of his own business to attain inward satisfaction. In no 
way do they enjoy the cultivation of their practical, abilities, except 
indeed for the purpose of human slaughter ; for military organi 
zation devours all that is due to the people or rather what they owe 
to themselves. It devours all that is ground out of. the people, all 

244 How Gertrude TeacJies Her Children. 

that can be ground out of them in an ever-increasing ratio. Their 
practical abilities are neglected because the government does not 
fulfil the promises which were made in order to grind the people. 
But this which the government withholds from them, is of such a 
nature that if it were only granted the extortion would become just 
and the misery of the people, as a consequence of this justice, would 
be changed into contentment and happiness. But now they snatch 
the bread from the widow, who is taking it out of her own mouth to 
give it to her babe. They snatch it, not intending to use it for the 
people, but in order to make their injustice and worthlessness lawful 
and legal. In the same spirit, at one time, they snatched bread from 
the widow and orphan to make jobbery ecclesiastical and canonical. 
The same methods served for both, for the jobbery, spiritual extor 
tion, and for the injustice, worldly taxation, both in the name of the 
public welfare the one for the salvation of the soul, the other for 
the happiness of the body both notoriously work against salvation 
and against happiness. 

" The people of Europe are fatherless and wretched. Most of those 
who stand near enough to help them have something else to do than 
to think of their welfare. In the stable, and with dogs and cats, you 
will be led to believe that many of them are humane, but they are 
not humane to the people ; they have no heart for them. They live 
on the revenues from land, but in constant forgetfulness of the con 
ditions that produce these revenues. They do not realize how the 
people are degraded by the ever-increasing extortion and the con 
fusion caused % it, nor how practical honesty is constantly decreasing 
as well as a want of a sense of responsibility in using public property. 
They are responsible for the dreadful increase of physical enerva 
tion of men and classes who are de facto, if not de jure, free from 
responsibility. They, receiving revenues, wash their dirty hands. It 
is this which degrades and perplexes human nature and robs it of 
its power of enjoyment and its true humanity. They do not realize 
how great the universal pressure of work has become. They do not 
realize how the difficulty increases day by day of getting through 
the world with religion and honour, and of leaving the children 
behind provided for according to their circumstances. Least of all 
do they realize the disproportion between that which they grind 
from the poor of the land, and that which they leave in his hands 
wherewith to earn what they grind from him. But, dear friend, 
whither is my holy simplicity leading me ? " 

7 Ed. 1, p. 341. ' The culture of the physical faculties, that the 
state should assiduously and might easily give to the people, like the 
culture for special purposes, depends, like all culture, on a profound 
mechanism on an A B C of the Art ; that is, on general rules of art 
by following which the children can be trained by a series of exer 
cises, proceeding gradually from the simplest to the most compli 
cated. These exercises must certainly result in affording daily 
increasing ease in those faculties (Fert) which need improvement. 

Notes to Letters XII I -XIV. 245 

But this A B C is not found. Of course we seldom find what nobody 
seeks. It was so easy to find. It must begin with the simplest ex 
pressions of the physical powers, which contain the principles of the 
most complicated human practical ability (Pert}." 

8 Ed. 1, p. 343. "But these are of no use to the principles of 
jobbery and injustice that form the basis of our public revenues, and 
are not easily compatible with the distinctly nervous state of the 
gentry, who take the biggest slice of the results of the jobbery and 

9 Ed. 1, p. 345. " These considerations must determine the povyer 
of applying our activities. Every influence that in the application 
of our powers and faculties turns us away from the centre point." 

10 Ed. 1, p. 346. "Every kind of instruction that bears within 
itself the seeds of such evil for short-lived men must cause the more 
terror to every father and mother who have their children's life 
long peace of mind at heart, since we must seek the sources of the 
infinite evil of our sham enlightenment and the misery of our masque 
rade revolution in errors of this kind, since they have existed for 
generations both in the instruction and non-instruction of our people." 

11 Ed. 1, p. 347. " And on its lines a sense-preparation for physical 
instinct will be laid, which will promote the wisdom and virtue of 
our race." 

12 Ed. 1, p. 347. " In this way the only form of education suitable 
to the human race is developed which can be recognized as a means 
of training virtue." 

13 Ed. 1, p. 347. " Therefore it is that as definition before sense- 
impression makes men presumptuous fools, so explanations about 
virtue before the exercise of virtue make them presumptuous villains. 
I do not believe I am contradicted by experience. Gaps in the sense- 
cultivation of virtue cannot well have other results than gaps in 
the sense-cultivation of knowledge." 


1 Ed. 1, p. 353. " It is not a simple result of natural instinct, but 
yet it follows the same course of development." 


1 Ed. 1, p. 370. " Friend, if my method here satisfies a want of my 
race, its value surpasses my every hope, and it does." 

2 Here the second edition ends. In the first edition a long passage 
follows from a letter addressed to Pestalozzi by Dr. Schnell, of Burg- 
dorf . We give it here, for it weakens Pestalozzi's masterly conclusion. 

Ed. 1, 383-390. " I must add to this passage, that explains exactly 
the sanctity of religion, yet another, written by a man whose head 
and heart are alike dear to me, describing the external origin. of reli 
gion, so far as it is an affair of nations and external human associa 
tions. Dr. Schnell of Burgdorf wrote to me a few days since : 

246 How Gertrude Teaches Her Children. 

" ' Man reflects much sooner upon that which he sees and handles 
than upon those feelings which lie undeveloped in his inmost soul, 
and which only now and then glide over the background of his con 
sciousness like formless shadows. He must, of necessity, learn to 
know the physical world before he can attain to knowledge of the 
intellectual world. 

'"His reflection will be awakened, as soon as he becomes self- 
conscious, by unusual natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, 
floods, thunder, etc., and his propensity to try to get to the bottom of 
everything leads him to reflect upon the causes of these phenomena 
before he knows their nature; but these reflections lead him no 
further than to personifications of these causes. It lightens because 
Zeus willed it, etc. In this way man refers every kind of pheno 
mena to its special author, overseer, or god, who divide the kingdom 
of causes among them, at first peaceably, afterwards by force. 

" ' But the human mind, according to its nature, ever trying to 
reduce multiplicity to unity, did not long find pleasure in poly 
theism. Man began to look upon nature as a gang cf under- workers 
in the great workshop, and now inquired about the master. As 
imagination had led him so far, it now led him further. It showed 
him an image representing this master and called it Fate an idea 
expressing neither more nor less than a senseless supreme will, a per 
sonified caprice, that can give no reason for its decrees except its 
own authority : This is my absolute will and command. 

" ' And this is the supreme cause, the one god to which human reason 
points ; and when reason finds its goal, imagination must furl her 
wings, because she can paint no picture without borrowing colours 
from the palette of experience ; for to mix colours different from those 
on this palette is beyond her skill. 

" ' Man was obliged to stop at -this stage of education, until by con 
stant examination and inquiry, he discovered that all the pheno 
mena of nature stand in more or less close relationship, and depend 
more or less upon each other. He saw one weight sink while another 
rose, and began to find order and harmony, where before he saw 
nothing but disorder and confusion. From this time forward he no 
longer looked upon the changes and phenomena around him as the 
play of accident., or as the effect of the capricious decrees of a mighty 
being, but as the harmonious action of a machine, moving according 
to definite laws, towards a definite, though to him unknown, end. Now 
he knew the whole clock as far as mainspring and dial the cause 
and purpose of movement. 

" ' The idea of rule, of law, to which his reason led him through 
inquiry, seemed to fit an inner feeling that had often before dis 
turbed him, but which he could not express because words were 
wanting to him. Now he had made this feeling clear to himself 
with the objects of the material world, the symbol led him to the 
thing itself, and he ventured to apply what he had found in the 
known world, to a visionary unknown world. If he wished to act, or 

A u tJwrities. 2 47 

acted, he felt every time that a judgment, not to be silenced, would 
be spoken of his action in his soul, that would not always agree with 
the judgment that his reason pronounced upon the success or failure 
of the purpose for which he had acted. He was fully conscious that 
this feeling might be powerless to determine him against his will 
for or against the perpetration of any action ; but nevertheless it 
happened that disobedience to the word of this inner voice awakened 
an enemy in his own heart that the friendship of the whole world 
could not lay to rest. He applied his newly-found idea of a rule, a 
law, to this unknown something, and he saw that this guess had not 
deceived him ; for he found the command of this inner voice just as 
absolute a command as he had found that law absolute, which directs 
the changes of the seasons ; but he found that his desires were not 
so absolutely submissive to this command as nature is submissive to 
her laws. He said therefore, to himself, 

" ' Nature must obey her laws ; she has no will. But I need not obey 
the law in my breast unless I wish. Herein I am my own judge and 
so far a nobler being than all nature. 

" ' With this knowledge, a new sun rose over a new world for our 
race. Man saw himself on the boundary between the physical and 
the spiritual world, and found himself a citizen of both of the one 
through his body, of the other through his will. He found that the 
laws of these worlds are at bottom one and the same law, because both 
command order and harmony; and that their apparent difference only 
comes from the difference of the natures through which they com 
mand. Natures, gifted with knowledge, ought to obey the law, and 
they will wish to obey it, because they must know that it leads them 
to peace with themselves to their own end. But natures not gifted 
with knowledge must obey, because they have no purpose of their 
own, and if they are not driven, they must stand still. . . . And 
now Thy creatures need only raise their eyes from nourishing earth 
to the eternal heaven, and they found Thee, known and yet unknown, 
to whom no work is discordant. . . . And Thou seest with joy, 
author of every law of the physical and the spiritual world, in thin 
glance of Thy creature, that this work too is good, because even by 
it, he raises himself from the dust of the earth and longs for freedom 
and for Thee, and has recognised the purpose of the material world 
as a means to Thy end in the moral world,' " etc. 


It has not been possible to give authorities for notes except where 
they are quoted entire. We have consulted and are indebted to the 
following editions of Pestalozzi's : Wie Qertrud ihre Kinder lehrt, Ed. 
1, Gessner, Zurich, 1801. Pddagogische Billiothek, Albert Richter, 
Leipzig, 1880. This is the text we have generally followed. Seyffarth, 
PestalozzVs sammtliche Werke, vol. XT. Brandenburg, 1872. Pddago- 
gische Klassiker III., Karl Biedal, Wien, L877.Ausgewahlte tichriften 

248 Supplements to The Method. 

beriihmter Padagogen, IV., Dr. K.Aug. Beck, 1887. Universal Bibliothek, 
Leipzig, 991, 992, 40 pf., a small popular edition without notes. 

Dr. Darin Comment Gertrude instruit ses infants, Ed. 2, Paris, 1886. 
Also the following biographies, etc., Biber, E., Henry Pestalozzi and 
his Plan of Education, being an account ofhislife and writings, London, 
1831. E. de Guimps. Pestalozzi, his Life and Work. Translated from 
Second Edition by J. Russell, B.A., London, 1890. Morf, Zur Biogra 
phic Heinrich Pestalozzi' s, Winterthur, 1868-1885. Guillaume, J., 
Pestalozzi, Etude Biographique, Paris, 1890. Pestalozzi Blatter, Zurich, 
1878-1892 Herbart, Pad. Schriften, 1880. J. P. Eossel, Allgemeine 
Monatschrift fur Erziehung und Unterricht, Aachen, 1828, etc., etc. 


The supplements omitted are not necessary, as their character can 
be inferred from the book, nor have we given all Pestalozzi's ex 

Supplement No. 2. A collection of words almost alike, which 
receive a variety of changes by small additions. These must have 
the effect of giving certainty to spelling a result that could hardly 
be so easily gained in any other way. All combinations of letters, 
grammatically possible, have been used as series of syllables and words. 
Here is an example : 

ein eint eine einen einet einern 
be in meint deine deinen meinet beinern 
dein neint meine meinen weinet steinern 
sein scheinfc seine seinen scheinet kleinern, etc. 

The use of these words in language, may at the same time be 
learnt in a way pleasant to the children and adapted to their in 

For instance, ine (ein) is put upon the board as the principal 
sound, and while I add to it I say, " What I have bought is? mine 
(m-ein). But with a w : " What do we squeeze oat of grapes ? " 
TFine (W-ein), etc. 

No. 8 is a guide to lessons upon the relations of numbers accord 
ing to regulated steps. 

The various relations of the numerical system must be brought 
home to the sense-impression of the children by means of real objects. 
I find the letters on the reading-board the handiest. 

At first, I put one letter on the board, and ask, " How many are 
there ? " The child says 1. I add another, and ask 

1 and 1 are ? 2 

2 1 ? 3 

3 1 ? 4 

Only very few are wanted at first, until by very easy exercises the 
increased power of the child demands gradually more and different 
numbers. Then we take the added letters away one by one, and ask 

Notes to The Method. 


Then back again. 

How much is 1 Itss than 20 ? Ans. 19. 
1 19? 18. 
I go on with What are 1 and 2 ? 3 
" j> ^ * 
5 2? 
2 less than 99 are ? 97 


7 etc. 

a 97 
Then 1 and 3 are ? 


Then 2 

Then 1 

Then 2 

Then 3 

Then 1 

I go on further to 

2 and 2 are ? 
4 2 ? 
6 2 ? 

? 95 

7 up to 100 and back again. 

8 up to 100 etc. 

9 up to 100 etc. 

6 etc. 

7 etc. 
6 etc. 

How many times 2 make 4 ? 
How many times 2 make 6 ? 
How many times 2 make 8 ? 
And so on up to 100 and then backwards. 

2 less than 100 are ? 98. How many times 2 make 98 ? 
2 98 ? 96. How many times 2 make 96? 
In the same way I go on 

3 and 3 are ? 6. How many times 3 make 6 ? 

4 ,, 4 ? 8. How many times 4 make 8? etc. 
No. 4. Gold-finch Silver-gilt Almond-tree. 

mine scent. 

ware flavour. 




(A selection from many examples.) 
No. 8. To make signs is to make something understood by ges 
tures without words. 

To extend is to make longer. 

To stretch is to make longer. 

To spread is to make broader. 

(All the other examples, " to go," etc., are in Letter VII.) 


The Society of Friends of Education was founded by Stapfer, June, 
1800, to make Pestalozzi's views better known. A Commission was 
appointed from among its members to examine and report. At their 
request he gave them " An Account of the Method." They visited his 
school and presented their Report at a general meeting of the So 
ciety, Oct. 1, 1800. 

The " Report or Account of the Method," which Pestalozzi made 
for this Society, is the first systematic statement of his views. 

250 The Method. 

When he left Stanz, he was not sure of his principles. In this 
Eeport, " Anschauung " and his great principles first appear ; 
but the ABC of Anschauung is not here. That and his Elements 
first appear in Wie Gertrud, and the attempts to correlate and unite 
them also. 

When he wrote this Eeport, he was quite alone. It is entirely his 
own work: it givts us the condition of his mind a year after he 
left Stanz. The observations made there have germinated and de 
veloped : this is their first expression. It comes between the First 
Letter from Stanz, and How Gertrude Teaches her Children ; these three 
works complete his writings at this important period of his own 
development. After this, until we come to the Swan's Song, there is 
nothing of equal value, nothing quite free from the influence of 
helpers who had never been at Stanz. 

The Eeport is quoted several times in Wie Gertrud ; it is the germ 
of that work ; to add it here was necessary to complete the work of 
this period, and also to show how the idea " germinated " in him. 
" It sets forth," says de Guimps, " his doctrine with a clearness and 
precision that are hardly to be found in any other of his writings " 
(p. 184). He forgets that he has only just said, overleaf, " He was not 
yet clear himself as to what his method really was, and could 
hardly have given an explanation of it." He was, in fact, seeking a 
principle (p. 182). These statements can be reconciled if applied to 

1799, but not to 1800. " Unfortunately," says de Guimps, " this 
document was never published, and has remained unknown. It is 
wanting even in the collection published by Seyffarth at Branden 
burg, which is the most complete edition of his works. Niederer, 
we believe, incorporated it in his Notes on Pestalozzi, Aix-la-Chapelle, 
but this book is no longer to be found." 

But de Guimps is mistaken. The first edition of his Life of Pes 
talozzi was published in 1874, Seyffarth had reprinted The Method 
only the previous year, 1873, while Niederer had published it in 
1828 in the Allgemeine Monatschrift fur Erziehung und UnterricJ.t, 
with other works of Pestalozzi. These works had also been pub 
lished separately, but de Guimps did not know this in 1874, when 
his first edition was published ; in Edition 2 he adds an appendix, 
but does not correct the text, and his note is not quite accurate. 
He says, that Seyffarth (vol. 18) contains some special works here 
first published ; among them u The Method." This is the Eeport 
presented by Pestalozzi to the Society of the Friends of Education in 

1800, referred to by us in its proper place" (p. 431). Now this 
Niederer version of the Method referred to in the appendix is not the 
same as that quoted by de Guimps (p. 184). He has not discovered 
this. He gives the conclusion of the Eeport, but his last two para 
graphs are at the beginning of Niederer's version its second and 
third paragraphs. There are other differences. There is evidently 
then another copy. This is confirmed by Wie Gertrud: some of 
the quotations given there are not to be found in this version of 

Notes to The Method. 2 5 r 

Niederer's. In Letter VII. there is a long quotation beginning, 
" Grant the principle" (p. 116.) This is not in Niederer's version ; so 
that, although it is signed by Pestalozzi, is in his own handwriting,, 
and is undoubtedly genuine, it is not the version quoted in Wie 
Gertrud nor by de Guimps. It may be the first draft. The question 
arises, If no account was published, ho w d id de Guimps obtain an ab 
stract and quotations for his first edition ? This is answered by 
referring to Morf, vol. I. p. 228. Morf has given an abstract and 
quotations, and de Guimps has copied them. The one quotation he 
gives, which is not in Morf, is taken from Wie Gertrud, Letter IV. 

Seyffarth also has not seen that there are two versions of the 
" Account of The Method" He saj'S in the Preface to Wie Gertrud, 
Pestalozzi made " a Report which was afterwards published by Nie- 
derer, 1840, in the Pestaloggische Blatter unfortunately with Nie 
derer's revisions. Morf gives a summary of it." Seyffarth does not 
know apparently that Morf's version is entirely different from 
Niederer's. It is strange that this first Account of the Method is 
not known to Pestalozzi's editor and biographer, and has never been, 
so far as we can learn, reprinted. 

It seemed probable to us that Pestalozzi's version of The Method 
might have been published at the time it was presented. Dr. 
Schnell, Prefect of Burgdorf, published a pamphlet in 1800 which 
gave a more complete exposition of Pestalozzi's views than the Re 
port contained. The Society also appealed publicly for subscriptions. 
Possibly the Report was printed and circulated. Mr. Morf evidently 
knew, we wrote to him and he replied, 

" In answer to your letter of June 23rd, allow me first to remind you 
that in dealing with those portions of Pestalozzi's work which he 
edited, Niederer left nothing untouched, he gave his own colour to 
everything. He lived in the firm belief that he understood Pestalozzi 
better than Pestalozzi understood himself. The quotations that I 

five, vol. I. p. 228 and seq., are taken from the original document of 
line, 1800. It was printed in the newspapers of that date." 
At present, we have not been able to get at these newspapers, but 
we may suggest to the Editor of Pestalozzi-bldtter that it would be 
well to reprint it. The Augsburger Zeitung and Deutscher Merkur 
(Wieland Editor) took up his cause. 

Mr. Morf does not settle one point of importance. Did the dia 
gram of (Buss's) ABC der Anschauung appear in the newspapers? 
Seyffarth excludes it, and the sentence preceding it. If this diagram 
is really Buss's, it could riot have existed when Pestalozzi wrote the 
Report. If it is not in the versions from which Morf copies, it seems 
clear that Niederer has not left this untouched. The A B C is pro 
bably not Pestalozzi's own production, for Buss says (Lett. III.) he 
could not draw, and that for months he could not understand him. 
But he gave Buss some lines as a pattern. 


A B C of Actions, 178. 

A B C of Activities, 180. 

A B C of Anschauung : Arith 
metic used for, 138 ; Buss', 61, 
68, 69, 70; described, 119; 
form, 116 ; knowledge based 
on, 181 ; measure used for, 120, 
121, 123; notes, 217, 220, 225. 

ABC of Art, 177. 

A B C of Art of Sense- impres 
sion, 148. 

Anschauung, contemplation, 159 ; 
notes, 215, 225 ; observation, 
19, 78, 115, 117, 143, 161; ob 
serving powers, 158; seeing, 
18 ; seen objects, 132 ; senses, 
147, 149. 

Appenzell, bird, 146. 177. 

Arithmetic, art of, 133, 138, 148. 

Art teaching usual course, 117. 

Art, the, defined, 26; difficult, 
72 ; efforts of, 87 ; gradation, 
86 ; home education, 190 ; 
language, 96 ; laws of, 87 ; 
makes men, 76 ; mother and, 
146, 192 ; nature and, 29, 70, 76, 
77, 89, 143, 144, 145, 153, 187 ; 
note, 220; observation and, 
163; order of objects directed 
by, 102 ; religion and, 191- 
197 ; senses and, 114 ; strength 
ens impressions, 78, 79 ; un 
known, 30. 

Art of Anschauung, 116 ; A B C 
of, 148 ; counting basis of, 137 ; 
note', 238 ; sense - impression 
raised to, 147, 149. 

Basedow, 72, 227. 

Beginning books, 29 ; with the 

easy, 53, 104; spelling and 
counting, 23; subjects of in 
struction, 8. 

Beginning points and form of 
instruction, 86; hold fast the, 
189 ; ignorant men can find, 
62 ; important, 17, 48 ; perfec 
tion of, 66 ; method seeks, 55. 

Book and real knowledge, 29, 73, 

Buckles, story of, 65. 

Burgdorf, Buss comes to, 66, 
Fischer in, 48; note, 218; Tobler 
comes to, 55 ; work renewed in, 
21, 42. 

Catechism, child fettered by, 
101; Krusi's, 45, 47; parrot- 
like repetition, 32, 46 ; verbal 
analysis, 46. 

Child follows race, 151. 

Child, history of, 25, 26 ; know 
ledge before reading, 26 ; 
mother and, 145, 182 ; objects 
impress, 25 ; talk, must learn 
to, 154. 

Children, do not drive, 53 ; en 
couraged, 101 ; examples given 
by, 131 ; felt their power, 17 ; 
progress of, 153; reason with 
them he will not, 36, 37 ; self 
activity of, 17; taught children, 

Class teaching, 17, 41. 

Clear ideas, aim of instruction, 
52, 85, 105, 114, 115; denned, 
157 ; drawing a means to, 67, 
118 ; language .a means to, 98, 
111; sense - impression to, 74, 
180; Socratising a means to, 50 ; 




teacher and children may rise 
to, 51 ; writing a means to. 

Despair, 166, 169. 

Development of child, 29 ; deter 
mined by circumstances, 178 ; 
inner capacity, 50: morality, 

Dictionary, use of, 58, 207. 

Drawing, art of, 123; lines, 
squares, curves, 23 ; method of 
teaching, 123 ; nature no 
lines, 68 ; number and langu 
age necessary for, 71 ; out 
lines read like words. 68 ; 
sense - impressions to clear 
ideas, 67 ; subordinate to 
measurement, 117 ; writing 
later than, 124 ; writing ana 
working at same time, 17. 

Education, activities, 180 ; aim 
of, 156; all true follows nature, 
26 ; all true must be drawn 
out, 17; gaps in early, 57; 
Glayre, " vous voulez mechan- 
iser," 25 ; high road neglected, 
23 ; ideal, 1, 2, 29, 141, 179, 190 ; 
nature not sufficient, 160, 161, 
190; progress of, 189 ; revision 
of work, 139, 144 : simple 
means, 60 ; un psychological, 
142, 144; usual course of art, 28. 

Elements of instruction, 23, 86. 

Elementary means (elements in 
text), 90, 95, 114, 132, 139, 140, 
144, 147, 148, 204; brought 
into harmony, 139; number, 
form, and language, 87 ; read 
ing, writing, arithmetic, not, 

Emotion, 82 

Essential, accidental, subordi 
nate to, 80, 81, 152, 159, 160- 
162, 202 ; note on, 229. 

Experiments, indefatigable in 
making, 34, 59, 222: hampered, 
49 ; little Ludwig, 27 ; method 
based on, 2, 5, 6, 166. 

Expression/! ifficulty of teachers, 
69, 70; helps impression, 70; 
language, a means of, 99, 

Failure at Neuhof, 10. 

Faith in mothers, 39, 60, 97, 127. 
128 ; note, 223. 

Fertigkeiten, ability, 172, 177, 
181 ; Actions, 171 ; activities, 
166; gymnastics, 178; mani 
festation, 183 ; note on, 242 ; 
practice, 185; power, 178; 
powers of doing, 173, 177, 179 ; 
skill, 173, 176, 177. 

Form, elementary means, 114- 
132, 148. 

Form of instruction, 90, 98. 

Form, the (psychological), 84, 85, 
86, 89, 96, 97. 

Form, first or prototype, 85, 89, 

Form, measure and, 116 ; note, 
229 ; number and language, 
87-89, 146 ; physical generali 
zation, 99 ; teaching, 114-132. 

Fraction table, 137 ; note, 237. 

Generalization, physical, 100, 
205; number, language, form, 
primary, 99. 

Glayre, 25, 220. 

Government, function of, 174- 

Gradation in instruction, 26, 
201, 202. 

Grammar, 105, 149, 152. 

Grimm, Dr., 19, 218. 

Gruner, 1, 212. 

Gurnigel, 19, 218. 

Heidelberg (the), 21, 22, 50, 128. 

Hintersassen, 22, 219. 

Hubner, 45, 244. 

Ideal educational scheme, 10. 

Image of prophet, 140. 

Improvements, his purpose 
limited to, 27. 

Improvements made, horn- leaves, 
25 ; large letters, 93 ; slates, 5b. 



Inquiries into the Course of Nature, 
14, 214. 

Instruction, school and home, 32, 
60: sound, a means of, 90. 

Intuition, 217. 

Intuitions, 25, 150. 

Intuitive, 36. 

Iselins Ephemerides, 9, 213. 

Johannsen, 1, 212. 

Krusi, life, 42, 43; note, 223; 
opinions, 51, 53 ; and Pesta- 
lozzi, 49. 

Language, aim of, 98 ; denned, 
112 ; depravity of, 170-172 ; de 
velopment of, 36, 150 ; expres 
sion by, 99, 150; ideas made 
clear by, 111 ; teaching, founded 
on sense-impression, 150-152; 
teaching proper, 96-112. 

Law, mechanical formulas re 
duced to, 74. 

Law of nature, accidental based 
on, 160 ; based on necessity. 
75 ; course must distinguish, 
159 ; ignored consequences, 
204; instruction based on, 200; 
instruction deviating from, 
150 ; judgment determined by, 
173 ; perfection a, 81, 84, 193 ; 
science - teaching, deviating 
from, 155 ; Law of organism 
unknown, 165. 

Laws, physico-mechanical, 24 ; 
sources of, 80-82 ; teaching 
adapted to, 24; of physical 
mechanism, 79, 81, 83, 86, 90, 
158,181 ; propositionsreston,80. 

Lavater, 9, 140, 213. 

Leonard and Gertrude, 7, 8, 12, 
66, 164. 

Main purpose of life, 11. 

Man, the centre of his sense- 
impressions, 86, 102. 

Masses, affected by over-civiliza 
tion, '174-176. 

Measure forms, 68, 119, 120, 122. 

Measurement, the basis of draw 
ing, 117. 

Measuring, the art of, 116 ; the 
power of, 121, 122. 

Mechanical formulas, 75 ; .readi 
ness, 37. Note 220. 

Mechanism, activities of, 178 ; 
laws of physical, 79, 81, 82, 83, 
86, 90, 158, 181 ; nature of, 97 ; 
note, 220, 229 ; senses of, 164 ; 
teaching of, 38. 

Method, the, Account or Report 
of, 199-211 ; Account or Report 
quoted, 76-79; aim, its, 53; 
Buss' report of, 70-72 ; experi 
ments, basis .of, 59; instruc 
tion of, 1, 2, 55 ; parents helped 
by, 61 ; prejudice counteracted 
by, 52 ; principles of, 34 ; psy 
chology, founded on, 63 ; self- 
help promoted by, 67 ; supple 
ments, 248-251. 

Mother, the, Art and, 191 ; child 
and, 191-197; education, the 
work of, 97, 145, 197; follows 
nature, 144, 145 ; moral train 
ing by, 181-188, 191-197. 

Mother's Book, the, described, 
91, 92, 146-148; an introduc 
tion to A B C of Anschauung, 
148; arithmetic, 148; form, 
120; language, 95, 96; num 
ber, 134; spelling, 91; illustra 
tions on, 91, 100 ; never existed, 
163 ; notes on, 91, 163, 231 ; 
sense-impression, an art, 146 ; 
sense -impression, the basis of, 

Mothers, education for, 60; faith 
in, 39, 60,127,128; method, a 
help to, 60, 191 192. 

Name, teaching, 95, 96. 

Names, value of, 35, 51. 

Nature, The Art based on, 26. 85 ; 
forced apart from, 29; must be 
in harmony with, 76, 77, 89, 
143, 154 ; must follow, 149-155 ; 
must supplement, 96, 97, 160- 
163, 174, 187 ; nature careful of 
the type, not of the individual, 



160; claims not isolated, 75; 
course of, 76-78; inflexible, 183; 
influence depends on proximity, 
79, 85, 152 ; influence on man's 
development, 31, 60 ; laws of, 
78, 173 ; laws (sources of), 80, 
81; versus course, 159; mechan 
ism of, 76 -78, 203 ; mother 
follows, 144-146; no lines in, 
69 ; organism of, 173. 

Near (the), always more firmly 
impressed, 25, 79, 85, 86, 152, 

Niederer, 1, 4, 5, 212. 

Number, based on sense-impres 
sion, 147-149; clear ideas de 
pend on, 98, 99, 132 ; form and 
elements, 87, 146, 148; note, 
240 ; relations should be clear, 
133 ; teaching, 132, 149. 

Obedience, 183-185. 

Observation or art of sense-im 
pression, 115-117, 144-148; 
bases of judgment, 79 ; of know 
ledge, 143; of measurement, 
117 ; subjective, note, 236; wild 
man's power of, 164. 

Organization in teaching, 49 ; of 
language teaching, 60. 

Organism, laws imperfectly 
known, 165; of nature, 143, 
173 ; note, 220. 

Over civilization, effects of, 174- 

Patience, how to train, 183, 184. 

Perfection in lowest stage. 17. 

Principles uncertain, 16, 23. 

Printing, cause of decadence, 140. 

Prototype, or first form, 85, 89, 

Psychology, method founded on, 
97, 199. 

Psychological analysis, 126 ; ar 
rangement of objects, 114, 152 ; 
course experimental, 31; lan 
guage teaching, 36, 60, 105; 
methods of instruction, 78 ; 
methods of training activities, 

176 ; origin of methods, 84 ; 
progress, 68. 

Reading, writing, and arithmetic, 
not elements of all art and 
knowledge. 84. 

Reason, pure, training of, 163. 

Religion, training of, 50, 181, 
190, 192, 197. 

Rengger, 19, 218. 

Report of The Method, 199-211 ; 
notes. 229, 236, 238; quoted, 

Rousseau, 72, 227. 

Schnell, 21, 218; letter from, 

School books, 41; 

"Schoolmaster, I will turn," 15. 

Schools for men, 178. 

Schools unpsychological 28. 97, 
153, 221. 

Self-activity of children, 17, 31, 
114 ; lost, 139 ; of nature, 60 ; 
note, 235; parents and teachers, 

Self -help, 67, 71. [53. 

Seminary, 47, 48. 

Sense-impression accidental, 114 ; 
arithmetic based on, 133, 138 ; 
art based on, 68; Art of, 116. 
139, 148, 149 ; Art (the) rests on', 
26 ; Art (the) must keep pace 
with, 201; background of, 54; 
care needed for first, 159 ; com 
plex rest on simple, 81 ; defini 
tion before, 180 ; development 
by, 33 ; ear an organ of, 147, 
151 ; emotion and, 81 ; exercises. 
51; of form, 114; imperfect 
results from imperfect, 200 ; 
instruction begins with, 144 ; 
instruction founded on, 200 ; 
instruction not founded on, 142, 
153; judgment the result of, 
78, 164 ; knowledge based on, 
116, 139, 148 ; knowledge gained 
by, 115, 144, 146, 152 ; language 
founded on, 151 ; man the 
centre of, 83, 86 ; nature begins 
with, 150 ; nature teaches by, 

2 S 6 


36, 62, 80; number based on, 

' 134, 149, 208; psychological, 
114, 209; reason and, 163; 
square the foundation of, 149, 
164 ; surroundings affect, 200 ; 
tables of, 91, 136; vague to 
clear ideas, 59, 80, 85, 98, 111, 
114, 186, 200, 201. 

Serving from below upwards, 24. 

Slates, 23, 35, 58, 124, 125, 225. 

Socratizing, catechizing and, 45, 
46; fashionable, 11, 46; note, 
224 ; useless, 56, 57. 

Song, 95, 204, 231. 

Sounds, pronouncing, 15 ; notes, 
214, 230 ; sense-impressions of, 
147; teaching, 90-95, 151. 

Speak, lowest classes cannot, 
112-114, 234. 

Spelling Book (the), 90-95, 147, 230. 

Spontaneous efforts, 115, 235. 

Square (the), A B C of Anschau- 
ung, 119, 122; arithmetic 
taught by, 137, 138; measur 
ing taught by, 117 : notes, 237, 
238 ; sense impression founded 
on. 149. 

Stanz, children, he learns from, 
18, 19 ; class teaching, 17 ; 
methods, 16 ; notes, 214, 215 ; 
principles uncertain, 16, 23 ; 
pronouncing sounds, 16 ; rea 
sons for leaving, 20; street 
gossip, 20, 21 ; summary, 19 ; 
work, conditions of, 15. 

Stapfer, 19, 218. 

Steinmtiller, 34, 233. 

Table of fractions, 137, 138, 237, 

Tobler, account of, 61, 63; at 
Burgdorf, 55 ; Krtisi and Buss, 

Virtue, how to train, 180-190. 

Wieland, 61, 235. 

" What have I done for educa 
tion?" 139, 144. 

Word, book, 152 ; and clapper- 
folk, 113 ; and clapper schools, 
114 ; empty, 153-155 ; know 
ledge, 140 ; note, 235 ; teaching 
95 ; twisting, 142. 

Zehender, 19, 20. 

Zimmermann, 9, 213. 




teaches her 

COMP. sroa. 



How Gertrude teaches her children